The Cortland County Redistricting Commission finalized the legislative district map, and also put forward proposed district numbers at its meeting on Wednesday.
A public hearing on the new district map and a local law instituting the new legislative districts is set for 6 p.m. May 19. The commission’s finalized map and proposed districts will go to a final vote at the county legislative session set for 6 p.m. May 26.
At the meeting, county officials presented the following map as the finalized version:
The commission unanimously approved an amendment proposed by Legislative Minority Leader Beau Harbin (D-LD-2) to change the proposed districts, as seen above, back to their current district numbers. The changes proposed by Harbin should be reflected as follows:
- District 1 on the map was renamed District 8
- District 2 on the map was renamed District 9
- District 3 on the map was renamed District 16
- District 4 on the map was renamed District 17
- District 5 on the map was renamed District 15
- District 6 on the map was renamed District 14
- District 7 on the map was renamed District 13
- District 8 on the map was renamed District 11
- District 9 on the map was renamed District 10
- District 10 on the map was renamed District 1
- District 11 on the map was renamed District 3
- District 12 on the map was renamed District 4
- District 13 on the map was renamed District 5
- District 14 on the map was renamed District 6
- District 15 on the map was renamed District 7
- District 16 on the map was renamed District 2
- District 17 on the map was renamed District 12
As part of the apportionment process that occurs every 10 years after the U.S. Census figures are released, the county is sought to redraw its legislative boundaries to be able to provide fair representation to residents based on updated population figures.
Census data indicates there has been a 5.1 percent decline in population across the county since 2010. It has spawned questions regarding the number of county legislative seats moving forward.
For every district, there must be a 5 percent increase or decrease from a proportional number of residents per district. In the county’s case, if they were to uphold the current 17 legislature seats, it would mean the district must stay within 5 percent more or less than approximately 2,753 residents. This number is the total Cortland County population divided by the 17 districts.
Commission members also discussed meeting after the legislature has voted on the map and local law to decide how the redistricting process will play out in the next decade. The commission is aiming to meet again in September.
“I have already asked that we consider spending one year to work on this in the future,” said Legislative Majority Leader George Wagner (R-LD-15). “We need to plan this well for the people coming after us.”\
Legislative Chair, Kevin Fitch (R-LD8) said the Commission needs to prepare ahead of the meeting in September.
“We are the ones that established the commission. Why can’t the Commission be bigger or include the Legislature and citizens as voting members?,” he said. “One of the things we need to make sure of is to have our county government give an overview to our citizens of what the county government does.”