The Putnam County Redistricting Committee will not consider a nine district option for the county commission.
CTAS Consultant Ben Rodgers said that the committee believes a nine district committee was not feasible for the commission.
“Basically the nine district plan brought the Monterey district all the way to the Cookeville city limits,” Rodgers said. “It was going to cause some issues with voters getting to precincts where they were going to have to drive a lot further than they should. So it just wasn’t going to be feasible for that, so they just decided to try not to make it too hard on the voter.”
Rodgers said one goal when redistricting is to examine polling places and their distances from voters. He said that the nine-district plan didn’t make sense in that regard for people going to that polling place.
Rodgers said that at the meeting, there were some changes proposed on the 12 districts because they were outside the threshold of deviation by some six percent.
“The Monterey district got bigger,” Rodgers said. “It had to get bigger, it didn’t have enough people. That made district five become smaller. These are just proposed changes now, that’s not the plan they’ve submitted.”
Rodgers said that the committee will examine some city limit lines as well after previous annexation in the city of Baxter that has not yet shown up in the redistricting software.
The other two plans have districts dropping to a total of seven districts with three commissioners each totaling 21 commissioners, or the current 12 districts with two commissioners each totaling 24 commissioners.
Rodgers said that there are some committee members who believe the current 24 commissioners provide good representation. Others, he said believe that 24 is too many. Rodgers said that county commissions in the state range from 9 to 25 across the state, so there are varying opinions on the optimum number of commissioners.
Rodgers said the committee will further explore these two plans at the next committee meeting on September 28th at 6:30 p.m. Rodgers said he believes that the committee could potentially have their proposal ready to submit to the county commission by the commission’s October meeting. The county commission has until January to consider the redistricting proposals.