GREENCASTLE -- The Putnam County Commissioners heard a compelling argument for the redistricting of county council seats at Monday's meeting.
DePauw Professor Kelsey Kauffman brought several members of her class to discuss the findings of their recent redistricting study. They reported that counties, just like the state, are required to look at redrawing district lines every 10 years, following each census. By contrast, DePauw student Tyler Hess told the commissioners Putnam County has not redrawn its districts in nearly half a century.
The study further pointed out the Supreme Court has ruled the maximum deviation in population between districts should be no more than 10 percent. In Putnam County, it is 80 percent.
The commissioners thanked the class for their findings and asked why they had not also looked at redistricting for commissioners. Kauffman said they disparity in commissioner districts is less of an issue since all three are elected at large.
Floyd Township residents Gregg Earnest and Heath Warren shared concerns about the condition of County Road 400 East with the commissioners. Rather than simply expressing their unhappiness with road conditions, they asked where the funding comes from, if there is a road replacement plan and who they could contact about better funding in the county.
Commissioner Gene Beck said one of the chief problems in the state's funding formula is it's based on the number of registered cars in a county. Trucks and SUVs do not count as part of the formula.
This formula tends to favor urban and suburban counties over the state's rural counties.
The commissioners suggested contacting Rep. Jim Baird and Sen. Connie Lawson about possibly changing the funding formula.
County highway co-supervisor Jim Smith added that any funding set aside for road repairs can be taken away when the county has disastrous weather. The county is already well over its yearly budget for salt and sand, and the additional funds have come from the road budget.
Recent floods have also taken some of the money, as more serious road repairs take precedence.
With no easy answers at the county level, Commissioner Nancy Fogle thanked the two men for their understanding.
"I really appreciate you guys' attitude," Fogle said. "So many people are so irate when they call."