MAYVILLE - County legislators are going to try and put together a reapportionment plan in advance of the 2011 elections, but time is short.
In addition to re-drawing district lines with new census data, legislators intend to downsize the body itself by some number of seats.
Much was said about the issue Wednesday. However, by the end of the meeting, a public hearing had been scheduled for April 20 and a five-person reapportionment committee had been established. The committee will include legislators Fred Croscut, R-Sherman; Larry Barmore, R-Gerry; Rudy Mueller, D-Lakewood; David Himelein, R-Findley Lake; and John Gullo, D-Fredonia.
Legislature Minority Leader Rudy Mueller, D-Lakewood, will be one of the five members of the body's reapportionment committee.
Minda Rae Amiran, of the League of Women Voters, addressed legislators Wednesday asking for independent members of the public to be on the reapportionment committee.
As explained by County Attorney Steve Abdella, the plan will be up for discussion in its final form on the evening of April 20. In order to be considered that evening though, the proposal will have to be mailed to legislators by April 8. That gives the reapportionment committee two weeks and one day.
Croscut, the legislature's chairman, said census numbers are expected this week. With those numbers finally in, Barmore, the legislature's majority leader, said the Republican caucus is ready to begin redistricting work.
"The Republican caucus is ready," Barmore said. "We're ready to go to work. We've said right along that as soon as the numbers come out, we will jump right into this. We're ready to go this weekend. We've had our plans laid. We have the software in order to get the job done and we have every intention of having a plan ready in the allotted amount of time.
"I know that Mr. Mueller and others keep hitting on the fact that we should have started quite a while ago," Barmore continued, "but we don't have the numbers. So no matter what we did previously, it has to be redone now that the numbers have come out. We could start picking grapes in June so that we're ready when they're ripe in September, but it isn't going to do us any good."