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Supervisors offer mixed opinions on Linn County representation map
CEDAR RAPIDS - While Linn County's temporary redistricting committee has picked a preferred representation map for a three-member Board of Supervisors, members of that board have mixed opinions.
Fewer than a dozen people showed up for a Tuesday public hearing on the county's future redistricting map, which could be approved by the five-member temporary redistricting committee as soon as Friday.
Of those present who spoke, Supervisors John Harris and Brent Oleson disagreed on which plan provides the best rural representation for the county, which is slated to be reduced from five supervisors to three in 2019.
The redistricting committee last month selected draft Plan 2 - in a 3-2 vote - as the preferred option. That plan divides Cedar Rapids with the south half in one district and the north half grouped with Hiawatha and Robins into a second district. Marion is in a third district with the rest of the outlying rural areas and townships of Linn County.
Harris, who lives in Palo, said Plan 3 provides the better mix of rural and urban representation on the board.
That plan places the north half of Cedar Rapids in a district on its own, the south half of Cedar Rapids in a district with Fairfax and southern rural areas and townships, and Marion with Hiawatha, Robins and northern rural areas and townships in a third district.
'Plan 3 has one very rural representation, has another that is a supervisor with feet both in the city and in the county and, of course, the third supervisor has to be inside Cedar Rapids,” Harris said.
Harris said his concern is Plan 2 allows Cedar Rapids too much control over a three-member Board of Supervisors.
Oleson, who lives in Marion, disagreed, adding he feels Plan 2 offers the better chance for a rural mix on the board.
'I think Plan 2 will make a bad situation of going from five to three best serve the rural and Marion areas, which I currently represent,” Oleson said. 'I wholeheartedly support Plan 2.”
In the end, state law requires Cedar Rapids be split only into two districts, meaning the city will make up one entire district and about 60 percent of a second district, no matter how the redistricting process unfolds.
The other two plans being considered by the committee are:
l Draft Plan 1 - The west side of Cedar Rapids is merged into a district with Hiawatha, Robins and Fairfax, while the east side of Cedar Rapids is its own district, and Marion is in a district that includes much of the outlying rural areas and townships.
l Draft Plan 4 - The west side of Cedar Rapids in its own district, the east half of Cedar Rapids is in a district with southern and eastern rural areas and townships, and Marion, Hiawatha and Robins are in a district with rural areas and townships to the north.
The committee is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Friday, at the Jean Oxley Public Service Center, 935 Second St. SW, Cedar Rapids, to consider adjustments before formally submitting a recommended plan to the Linn County Board of Supervisors. The county board eventually must send a plan to the Iowa secretary of state for final approval.
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