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Oneida County Board forwards modified districts map to towns and cities

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Katie Thoresen
/
WXPR

After an hour of discussion Tuesday morning, the Oneida County Board of Supervisors voted to send a draft of a new district map to town and city clerks for approval.

It’s the next required step in the process to update the district maps for the county.

This version includes changes made after the public hearing on the map last week.

The Town of Pelican objected to the map because it would put a third supervisor’s boundaries within the town lines, adding to its costs.

The Northern Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission’s Andrew Faust has been working with the county to draw the map.

He re-worked the lines so that Pelican remains split between two districts.

One unresolved issue is the proposed map for District 12 would exclude current supervisor Mitch Ives.

Faust said he had no knowledge of where any of the supervisors lived when drawing the district boundaries. In earlier meetings of the county’s redistricting committee, members agreed it wasn’t their place to move lines based on where supervisors live.

“We try to keep the municipalities intact where we can and balance the population, as Ted mentioned, in those districts. We did not look at where existing supervisors sat. You guys have the authority to go ahead and modify the plan and try to keep your incumbents in place,” said Faust.

Minocqua, Rhinelander, and Three Lakes all saw population growth since the 2010 Census, forcing district redraws.

The map sent to towns and cities for approval has a 10.1% deviation between the most and least populous districts, even though the county would be open to lawsuits with anything higher than 10%. The board discussed revisiting that issue after hearing from municipalities.

At the end of the day, Faust said there’s always going to be people who are upset with the new maps.

“It’s up to you guys what you want to do. No one likes these plans every time they’re done. No one likes changes. They get used to the old districts. Last time this was past the county board was talking just like you are now. They didn’t like the districts, didn’t like the changes, wanted to keep it the way it was,” said Faust.

It’s now up to the town and city clerks to review and approve the maps or work with the county on the changes.

The County Board gets final approval of the maps and still has the ability to change them.

The deadline for the counties to draw up their new maps is November 23rd or they’ll have to use current maps for the next election.

Courthouse Entry

The other major point of discussion during Tuesday’s County Board meeting was whether to approve a resolution that would have allowed the Oneida County Courthouse to have a single-entry point.

The issue is a safety one.

The idea is that if they need to, the courthouse could limit entry to one door where a deputy or security guard could monitor to make sure people aren’t bringing in weapons.

This idea has been talked about in county committees and board meetings for more than a decade.

“For my committee, it’s been very frustrating to have it keep being directed back to our committee to talk about and then we have to answer to the courthouse security committee. So our suggestion was let’s bring it back before the county and either move it forward or we put it to rest,” said Supervisor Billy Fried who is on the Public Safety committee.

If the courthouse went to single entry, the board would also have to take into account making it an ADA accessible entrance and how they’d handle security.

Those in favor of the change said it would make the courthouse safer.

Those against it said there were more pressing safety issues the county could be addressing.

There were also some that thought it was a good idea but didn’t like the proposal in front of them.

The motion to pass the resolution failed as supervisors were divided on the issue with nine voting in favor and nine against.

Three were absent.