SOUTH BEND – County commissioners on Tuesday tabled a proposal to redistrict the Board of Commissioners and County Council based on population changes documented in the 2010 Census.
"There has been some consideration of some minor — and I do mean minor — alterations" to the proposal, board President Bob Kovach, D-District 3, said of the decision.
"It's just some small things, like the numbers in one precinct are attributed to another precinct, or the numbers are transposed," he said, adding: "It's more perfunctory than substantial."
The proposal, developed by the board in conjunction with the GIS Department, has been available for review in the Office of the Area Plan Commission, Suite 1140, County-City Building, since Nov. 29.
Only two people have inquired about it, Kovach said.
The proposal, which the board now plans to consider on Tuesday<b>:
<li> Makes no changes to Commission District 3;
<li> Moves two voting precincts from Commission District 1 to Commission District 2; and
<li> Reduces the number of precincts in council districts A, C, E, F and I to the benefit of districts B, D, G, and H.
According to Commissioner Dave Thomas, D-District 2, the proposal reduces the variance in population between the districts to less than 1 percent.
Census data released in February showed the county gained about 1,400 residents between 2000 and 2010. Mishawaka gained 1,700 and South Bend lost 6,600.
In drafting the proposal, the board followed Indiana Code, which mandates that single-member districts be compact and subject to natural boundaries; contain, as best as possible, equal population; and not cross precinct lines.
In a statement issued Monday, the county Republican Party described the proposal as "fair."
"I applaud the efforts of Commissioners Kovach and Thomas and thank them for doing what is best for the voters of St. Joseph County and not just the Democratic Party," GOP Chair Deb Fleming said.
"This could mark the beginning of future bipartisan efforts to bring about the change that this county desperately needs," she added.
The statement did not remark on Kostielney's contribution to the process.
Asked about that, Kostielney said: "I would say I had input in the process, and I think it was a fair proposal, and I think it made sense. And I think, also, that it tried to (move) as few voters as possible."
The county Democratic Party, for its part, has not commented on the proposal.
As a result of Tuesday’s action, the proposal will continue to be available for review now until at least Tuesday.