After some initial confusion prompted extra research and a special meeting, Cottonwood County Commissioners moved ahead with a redistricting plan.
At Tuesday’s special meeting, the board called for a public hearing at the start of the board’s regular April 19 meeting.
At issue was a plan to make the populations of each commissioners’ district relatively equal. The initial discussion called for Great Bend Township to move from District 3, served by Donna Gravley, to District 1, served by Larry Anderson.
However, it was discovered that four properties in Great Bend Township, located south of the former Windom roller rink, are separated from the rest of the township by the city of Windom. As a result, those properties in the township were not considered contiguous with the rest of District 1.
Commissioner Norm Holmen said that after researching, he discovered that those properties were, in fact, considered an island by state statute, meaning Great Bend Township could not be moved to District 1.
Instead, the plan calls for Great Bend Township to move from District 3 into District 4, served by Holmen, because all of Great Bend Township is considered contiguous with Lakeside Township to the east, which is currently in District 4.
To equalize the population, Germantown Township will be moved from District 4 to District 1, served by Anderson.
The additional issue is that because the percentage of population served by a commissioner that is changing is greater than 5% of the total population in the district, that district’s seat immediately goes on the next general election ballot. That means that the District 4 seat will be on the November ballot for a two-year position.
The seats in Districts 1 and 3 were already slated to be on the ballot for four-year terms.