by Emmitt B. Feldner
for The Beacon
SHEBOYGAN – With little change in the county’s population over the past 10 years, there will be little change in the new County Board supervisory district maps.
County Clerk Jon Dolson presented the nonpartisan tentative county supervisory district plan to the County Board Tuesday Sept. 21.
Facing a shortened time frame due to the late arrival of 2020 census data, on which the maps are based, the board approved the tentative plan and sent it on to municipal clerks in the county.
The clerks will have until Oct. 19 to draw voting wards for their municipalities. The plan then goes back to the county for consideration by the Executive Committee and final action by the full board at their Nov. 2 meeting.
“This was supposed to be done by July but we didn’t get the (census) data from the feds until late August,” County Administrator Adam Payne told the supervisors. “This is really a quick time frame.”
That meant the maps had to be acted on by the board immediately upon introduction, rather than being referred to a second committee as is the usual practice.
The county’s population in the 2020 census is 118,034, an increase of 2,524 (just over 2 percent) from the 2010 figure of 115,510.
As a result, 11 of the 25 County Board supervisory districts remain unchanged in the tentative new map.
Both districts in the city of Plymouth (16th and 17th) remain the same, as does the 15th District which includes the town of Plymouth and part of the town of Lyndon including the village of Cascade.
Seven of 10 districts in the city and seven of 15 districts in the rest of the county change slightly, typically involving the swapping of a few blocks to balance out populations between two adjacent districts.
The board narrowly defeated a proposal from Supervisor Gerald Jorgensen to adjust the boundaries of districts in the county’s northeast corner.
Jorgensen said he was attempting to balance the population differences between the five districts involved.
“It’s a big job, hard and complex,” Jorgensen said of the map-drawing efforts by Dolson and his staff in conjunction with the GIS staff in the Planning and Conservation Department.
“The time frame was not very fair to them and I thank you for your hard work,” Jorgensen added.
Dolson cautioned that Jorgensen’s proposed amendment would require creating new wards in the town of Herman and an additional set of ballots for those wards in any election.
That, he noted, was one of the goals of the redistricting effort, to minimize if possible the number of different ballots for wards located in different county or state legislative districts.
The board agreed with Dolson by a vote of 11-10, with four supervisors absent.
Dolson noted that, because county ordinances dictate that the city of Sheboygan have exactly 10 districts and the rest of the county 15, the average population of city districts will be 4,992 while the number will be 4,541 for districts in the rest of the county.
The wards drawn by municipal clerks based on the county map will be used in turn by the state Legislature to draw legislative and congressional districts statewide.
State law requires that the final county maps from all 72 of the state’s counties be submitted to the Legislature by Nov. 5.