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Proposed district lines show few problems

Mike Heine/The Week

(Published August 8, 2007, 4:07 p.m.)

To the general public, the proposed new Walworth County supervisory district lines apparently look good.

No regular citizens spoke during Tuesday night's public hearing.

Only city of Lake Geneva Clerk Diana Dykstra had a concern.

The city's population in 2000 was 7,170, according to the United States Census Bureau. City officials felt that was off and asked for an adjustment in 2005, Dykstra said.

The census bureau estimated the population at 7,489 in 2007, but was not able to alter the short-changed 2000 figures, she said.

"I felt the city of Lake Geneva is not being represented to the fullest," Dykstra said.

She asked if the newer population estimates could be used in the redistricting.

According to state statues, the redistricting of the county board lines needs to use the 2000 census data only, said Phil Evenson, executive director of the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, which developed the new districts for the county.

"Our hands are tied," Evenson said.

Newcomers to the county will not be counted toward the new districts. Using 2000 census data, each of the 11 districts will have about 8,365 residents.

The 25-member county board is being downsized because of the passing of a citizen referendum. Each board member today represents about 4,000 residents.

New subdivisions built in the last seven years in could, in theory, have residents who feel underrepresented by the board.

The degree of that under-representation is likely insignificant and will last only four years until the mandatory redistricting in 2012, Evenson said. Each proposed new districts can vary in population by 3 percent over or under the target.

The county board gave preliminary approval to the new district lines. The maps will be sent to municipalities for critiquing and come back to the county for another public hearing on Sept. 11.

Final district lines need to be approved by the county board and sent to the state no later than Nov. 15.



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