County seeks comment on redistricting plans, commissioner number

The Washington County Board of Commissioners is redrawing the county’s commissioner districts to reflect population changes as tracked in the 2010 census, and seeks public comment on aspects of the process and the number of commissioner districts in the county.

The county will work with maps that show city and township election precincts to create new county commissioner districts to assure that the population in each district is equal.

In addition, the commissioners will also discuss the question of whether to increase the number of county commissioners from five to seven.

The board has set its meeting on Tuesday,  March 13 as a time to receive public comment and questions regarding the number of board members. It will be at the regular board meeting time, 9 a.m., in the Board Room of the Government Center in Stillwater, at 14949 62nd St. N.

By April 20, the board must adopt a redistricting map of county commissioner districts, as well as a redistricting map of the county’s soil and water conservation districts. The board must also determine which commissioner seats will have four-year terms and which seats will have two-year terms in the 2012 elections, as the board members must have staggered terms.

The state plan that was released on Feb. 21 outlines Congressional districts in the state, which shows Washington County in three separate districts, 6, 4 and 2. It also shows new boundaries for state legislative seats, for both House and Senate.

The calendar that the county board will follow is:
•March 13 – Board public meeting to consider redistricting principles, including number of commissioner districts.
•March 20 – Board adoption of principles.
•By March 27– Publish notice of April 17 meeting to adopt districts.
•April 3 –Board Workshop to review city and township precincts.
•April 3 – Board agenda item to allow public input.
•April 10 – Board Workshop to review plan options.
•April 17 – Board action to adopt districts and terms.

Additional information on the county redistricting process will be posted to the county website.