Ashwaubenon approves redistricting plan with 12 wards
By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – The village will continue to have 12 wards and six trustees for the next decade, effective with the 2022 elections.
However, the layout for where the wards will comprise trustee districts has changed slightly.
In response to population changes in the 2020 census and anticipated growth over the next 10 years, the Village Board approved a redistricting plan Oct. 26.
The plan has two trustee districts in Brown County Supervisory District 22, which is west of Interstate 41 and south of State Highway 172, and the other four trustee districts to the north and east in County Supervisory District 21.
The approved redistricting map for the village was one of three options presented, with the populations varying from a low of 2,312 in Wards 3 and 4 to a high of 3,332 in Wards 10 and 11.
Ashwaubenon Village Manager Joel Gregozeski said the county’s map for supervisory districts, on which the village’s map is based, shifted the boundary for Districts 21 and 22 to the south to align with Highway 172, which resulted in the modification to Wards 7, 8, 9 and 10.
Gregozeski said the statutory requirements for redistricting include taking population changes into consideration, as well as potential and known development and growth.
“All of the wards have had some minor adjustments to them to reflect that change in population from the 2020 census and future growth,” he said.
Gregozeski said the effort to keep and maintain the existing trustee districts ran into problems numbering Wards 7, 8, 9 and 10 to have each trustee district in one county supervisory district.
He said there would have to be two different ballot styles for a trustee district split with the two wards into two County Board districts, creating an administrative challenge for election officials to give voters the correct ballot
Gregozeski said the redistricting option approved by the board did not take into consideration where the incumbent trustees live, thereby placing Wards 7 and 8 in county supervisory District 21 and Wards 9 and 10 in county supervisory District 22 to eliminate dual ballot styles in those two trustee districts.
“But what it does is displaces at least one of our trustees coming up at the next election, because effectively they’ll be residing in one of the other existing trustee seats,” he said.
Gregozeski said the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) coordinator, Francine Roberg, did a great job putting together the redistricting options, given how census blocks are created.
He said each ward in Ashwaubenon required to have not less than 600 nor more than 2,100 residents.
“When you start thinking about gerrymandering and how some of these wards take shape, it can be very difficult, given the shape and structure of census blocks,” he said. “It’s an amazing puzzle, and I’m glad you are doing it, because I’m terrible at jigsaw puzzles, and Francine did a great job.”
Gregozeski said the redistricting map places Wards 7 and 8 north of Highway 172 and Wards 9 and 10 to the south.
He said that will result in Wards 9 and 10 being where the current district trustee, Steve Kubacki, and the trustee for Wards 7 and 8, Jay Krueger, both reside.
Kubacki said he favored the redistricting plan that makes the most sense for Ashwaubenon.
“I think what we really have to do here is what makes the most sense, versus what prevents two trustees from, you know, basically going into a similar ward situation,” he said.
Trustee Tracy Flucke, who represents Wards 11 and 12, said she didn’t like the idea of splitting a trustee district into two wards to the north and south of Highway 172.
“It’s a big difference between north of 172 and south of 172,” she said. “I would prefer seeing (Wards) 9 and 10 south and then (Wards) 7 and 8 (north).
Gregozeski said the new ward map also includes the West De Pere School District residing within one ward, to eliminate an extra ballot style which is unnecessary.
He said the polling locations for the redistricting plan will be approved in an ordinance at the board’s next meeting.