Sedgwick County to decide on new commission districts by mid-December

Sedgwick County commissioners have voted to set December 15th as the deadline for the creation of new boundaries for the five commission districts.

Ten possible maps were presented at a town hall meeting this week for new boundaries based on population numbers from the 2020 Census.   Commissioners were told Wednesday that a deadline needed to be set to allow time for any commission candidates to file by petition.   Candidates would have 180 days to gather enough signatures to file for a commission seat, and they would have to start gathering signatures on December 31st to meet that requirement under state law.

There was an original motion for a deadline of January 5th, but commissioners voted 3-2 for a substitute motion for the December 15th deadline.  Commissioners Sarah Lopez and Lacey Cruse voted no.

Commissioner Lacey Cruse moved to create a 15-member bipartisan commission to study the ten maps and come back with a non-binding recommendation.   She said county commissioners would each appoint one member, and the League of Women Voters would appoint the remaining ten members.    Commissioner Jim Howell voiced a desire to have different racial, ethnic and community groups represented on this commission, and Commission Chairman Pete Meitzner said he was concerned that cities and towns in Sedgwick County might not be adequately represented.   The commission voted 4-1 with Howell voting no to create this bipartisan group, and a resolution is expected at their December 1st meeting to formally establish the group.