Pottawatomie County picks redistricting plan

By The Mercury

Pottawatomie County Commissioners settled on a final redistricting plan Monday, redrawing commissioner district boundaries to reflect a shift in county population.

Commissioners adopted the redistricting resolution after considering several alternatives and hearing input at a public meeting last month.

Under the new redistricting plan, District 1, represented by Gary Yenzer, swaps Shannon Township for Blue Valley Township with District 3, represented by Stan Hartwich.

District 2, represented by Pat Weixelman, loses Union and Sherman Townships to District 3, but picks up Pottawatomie and Rock Creek Townships from District 1.

The new commissioner district configuration is as follows:

• District 1 has a population of 6,988, and includes St. George, Blue, Green and Blue Valley Townships.

• District 2 has a population of 7,378 and includes the townships of Wamego, Louisville, Pottawatomie and Rock Creek.

• District 3 has a population of 7,092, and includes the townships of Shannon, Spring Creek, Clear Creek, Lone Tree, Sherman, Union, Belvue, Center, Vienna, Mill Creek, Grant, Lincoln, St. Clere, Emmett and St. Marys.

Commissioners began considering redistricting after 2010 Census figures showed population trends favoring the southwest portion of the county.

In other business Monday:

• Appraiser Lois Schlegel said county property sales for 2011 still lag last year by eight percent, but the residential sales trend has been upward in recent months.

“For the last three months they’ve been in the thirties, which is encouraging,” Schlegel said. “I think with the economic situation going on, it’s not a bad number at this point.”

There were 63 total property sales in July, compared to 49 in July of 2010. Year-to-date, there have been 307 property sales, compared to 333 through July of last year.

Schlegel also asked about purchasing shirts for employees in the appraiser’s office, noting that the commission had recently authorized the county attorney’s office to purchase shirts from its budget.

“My employees have always bought their own,” Schlegel said. “They’re very upset at this point that you allowed them (county attorney) to do it.”

Schlegel said she favors shirts identifying personnel is the appraiser’s office, especially for identification purposes for employees in the field.

Commissioners suggested the appraiser try to find funds in her budget to purchase the shirts, and Schlegel assured them there would be “a dollar limitation to it.”

“I would hope so,” joked Weixelman. “We don’t want them wearing furs down there.”

• Chris Trudo, emergency management director, reported on a successful storm siren test in August, and storm damage in the northwest part of the county August 18-19.

The strong winds were described by the National Weather Service as “microbursts” which damaged several structures in rural areas, Trudo said.

• Bruce Brazzle, fire supervisor, said he is making progress on consolidation of rural fire departments. Both the Westmoreland and Onaga departments have expressed interest in learning more about the proposal, he said.

“All-in-all, they’re very excited and very favorable to working out a plan,” Brazzle said.

• Leu Lowrey said the county road resurfacing project would begin late this month on the Flush Rd., followed by resurfacing in Wilderness Acres, south of U.S. Highway 24.

One-half mile of Salzer Rd. is currently being graded in preparation for hard-surfacing from Highway 24 to Say Rd., Lowrey said.

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