Murray County approves redistricting planSLAYTON — Murray County Commissioners approved a redistricting plan with a 4-1 vote Tuesday morning.
SLAYTON — Murray County Commissioners approved a redistricting plan with a 4-1 vote Tuesday morning.
The dissenting vote came from Commissioner Bill Sauer, whose district will lose one of its two townships and 192 voters.
The vote came after an open meeting regarding the plan, which had been proposed at the April 18 Board of Commissioners meeting. The resolution states all terms as four years in duration.
District 1, currently served by Commissioner Kevin Vickerman, will include Shetek, Holly, Mason, Murray, Dovray, DesMoines River and Belfast townships, which include the cities of Currie and Dovray. Vickerman is up for re-election this fall. He gains Mason and Belfast townships, but loses Lime Lake and the city of Avoca.
District 2, with Commissioner Robert Moline, loses Mason Township, but gains Leeds and the city of Hadley. The district also includes Ellsborough, Skandia, Lake Sarah, Cameron, Lowville and Chanarambie Townships and the city of Lake Wilson. Moline is also up for election this year, and stated Tuesday he planned to run for one last term.
District 3, currently served by Gerald Magnus, will include the townships of Slayton, Lime Lake, Moulton, Fenton and Iona, as well as the cities of Iona, Avoca and Chandler. Magnus loses Leeds Township, but gains Lime Lake. His term goes through 2014.
District 4, with Commissioner John Giese, is unchanged. It includes only the city of Slayton, with the current term filled by Giese through 2014.
District 5, served currently by Sauer, will include only Bondin Township and the city of Fulda after the new year.
During the open meeting, Bondin Township resident Chuck Friese told the commissioners he was disappointed that Belfast Township would be moved out of their district.
“We’ve been Bondin and Belfast 4-H for years,” he said. “We’ve always had a close relationship.”
Moline pointed out the area would have more representation with the new plan.
With the current commissioners who are up for election, only Lime Lake Township and the city of Avoca will have no say in who their county commissioner will be after the new plan goes into effect. The city of Slayton voted in its commissioner during the last election and will finish out the term with Giese still representing them, but citizens in Lime Lake Township and Avoca elected Vickerman over another candidate. As of 2013, their elected official will change with no input from them.
According to Murray County Auditor-Treasurer Heidi Winter, the shift in population with the new plan involved less than 5 percent of the district, so a new election is not required by law.
Magnus said he is looking forward to working with Lime Lake Township and the city of Avoca. Moline suggested if people in that area were unhappy with the plan, they should put together a petition. Winter pointed out, however, that once the commissioners approved the plan, it was final.
“If you are considering whether anyone else has to run, now would be the time to do it,” she said.
The cost to put Magnus on the ballot would be minimal to the county, since it is a general election year and ballots must be printed for each township and city, she explained.
Magnus, who is originally from Lime Lake Township and drives through it almost every day, asked the other commissioners for their input.
“Do you want me to run again?” he asked. “I plan to represent Lime Lake and Avoca as best I can.”
“Running for an election isn’t the easiest thing in the world,” Vickerman responded. “I wouldn’t want to put that on you.”
Sauer, who seemed unhappy with the changes when the plan was rolled out last month, pointed out again that one township and city in Murray County would be the only people who didn’t get to vote for their commissioner. Moline responded by stating if anyone from that city or township was concerned, they should have been at the open meeting to speak up.
Winter pointed out that the people of Lime Lake Township would end up with a different representative than the one they elected, but they would still be represented. Moline and Giese said they get calls from people in the county that are not in their district, as do all the other commissioners.
“We all represent the whole county,” Vickerman stated. “The district is for having a go-to person.”
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