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St. Croix supervisors OK new districting plan

HUDSON -- Despite objections that one district is too large and "illogically shaped" and over one supervisor's adamant objections, the St. Croix County Board adopted a new redistricting plan Tuesday.

The plan implements a citizen vote to cut the number of County Board members from 31 to 19. The reduction will go into effect when the new board is seated in April 2010.

"Voting for this is just wrong," protested Supervisor Ken Kolbe, who now represents District 27, which is Wards 7-10 of the town of Hudson.

He said the law allowing the referendum was passed by a state Legislature that "has no clue as to the needs of our people" and the petition for the referendum was circulated by a special interest group looking for either financial gain or power.

There is no scientific evidence indicating the board size should be changed and that analyses show either 15 or 21 members would work better than 19, said Kolbe.

"Less is not always better," he said, arguing that cutting districts eliminates representation for the less populated side of the county.

Other supervisors reminded Kolbe that since the reduction was mandated by the referendum, supervisors have no choice but to redistrict.

"The voters decided how many we should have," said Chairman Roger Rebholz. "We didn't decide that."

In a letter Somerset Town Chairman Ed Schachtner said residents of his town agree the size and shape of their District 7 is not in their best interests.

He said the district is "large and illogically shaped," the top and bottom halves are connected only by a small strip of land, and the district crosses I-94. With a population of 3,545, it also has the most people.

Schachtner suggested taking the village of Roberts out of District 7 and instead clustering the towns of Somerset, Star Prairie, St. Joseph, Richmond and Warren.

While acknowledging town of Somerset concerns, Supervisor Buck Malick said the recommended change would result in even more irregular boundaries.

The board voted 18-11 to adopt the redistricting plan.

These will be the new districts:

District 1 -- Glenwood City, village of Deer Park and towns of Forest and Cylon.

District 2 -- Wards 2 and 3 of the town of Richmond and towns of Emerald, Erin Prairie and Stanton.

District 3 -- Village of Star Prairie and town of Star Prairie.

District 4 -- Village of Somerset and Wards 3-5 of town of Somerset.

District 5 -- Wards 1, 2 and 7-10 of the city of New Richmond.

District 6 -- Wards 3-6 and 11-13 of the city of New Richmond.

District 7 -- Village of Roberts, Ward 1 of town of Richmond and the towns of Warren and Somerset.

District 8 -- Village of Hammond, Ward 1 of town of Eau Galle and towns of Hammond, Pleasant Valley and Rush River.

District 9 -- Village of Baldwin, Ward 2 of town of Eau Galle and Ward 2 of village of Woodville.

District 10 -- Ward 1 of the village of Woodville, village of Wilson, Ward 3 of village of Spring Valley and towns of Baldwin, Springfield and Cady.

District 11 -- Wards 1, 2 and 13 of River Falls and Wards 6 and 7 of town of Troy.

District 12 -- Town of Kinnickinnic and Wards 1, 4 and 5 of town of Troy.

District 13 -- Wards 2 and 3 of town of Troy and Wards 4-7 of town of Hudson.

District 14 -- Wards 1-5 and 9 of city of Hudson.

District 15 -- Wards 6-8, 10 and 14 of the city of Hudson.

District 16 -- Wards 11-13 of city of Hudson and Ward 3 of town of Hudson.

District 17 -- Village of North Hudson.

District 18 -- Wards 1, 2 and 8-11 of town of Hudson.

District 19 -- Town of St. Joseph.