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Commissioners’ voting district changes with census results

HARTINGTON — The Cedar County commissioners’ voting districts are changing due to shifts in population from the 2020 U.S. Census.

But there’s no change in who residents call for road repairs or problems, said County Clerk Dave Dowling.

The board approved a newly drawn district map at its meeting last week. Each district’s population has to be as equal as possible - within 5 percent.

The new district map is equal within less than 1 percent, Dowling said.

The county’s northern district - District 1 represented by Chris Tramp - increased in land area and now includes the town of Fordyce. District 2, the county’s southern district represented by Craig Bartels - no longer covers Coleridge.

Coleridge was moved to District 3 - the central district represented by Dave McGregor - which also includes Hartington in its entirety.

District 1’s newly drawn district population is 2,781; District 2 contains 2,780 people; and District 3, 2,819.

The new district map will come into play as those seeking the commissioner role file for election starting Jan. 5. County commissioners must reside in the district they represent.

The maintenance districts cannot coincide with the newly drawn districts due to the physical location of maintenance shops throughout the county as well as sheer geographic distance.

This may confuse some people when they head to the polls to elect commissioners, Tramp said.

“Who they’re voting for is not necessarily who is maintaining their roads,” he said, adding he’ll have to focus on this message in his re-election bid in his larger district.

Overall, commissioners were satisfied with the re-draw of the districts and recognized that other counties in the state are struggling with more of a major revision to district maps.

At its meeting last week, county commissioners also received a report from Treasurer Jean Wiebelhaus on 2021 distress warrants stemming from unpaid personal property taxes.

The unpaid tax totals $20,306.93 from 63 warrants - double the total number of warrants last year.

Wiebelhaus said personal property tax exemptions implemented in 2015 eliminated the first $10,000 of valuation of a taxpayer’s tangible personal property. However, that personal property tax relief ended after the 2019 tax year.

Many people didn’t pay attention or may not have been aware of the change, she said, resulting in more unpaid personal property tax.

The distress warrants were turned over to the Cedar County sheriff’s office to serve.

At its meeting last week, commissioners also:

- Reviewed applications for position of weed superintendent.

- Approved building permits for Claude Pinkelman, 27-foot bin; Jeremy Pinkelman, moving a Heritage Home onto the property; Doyle Stevens, 34x28 office building addition.

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