Tentative plan for Supervisory district maps gets thumbs up from County Board
Municipalities will provide feedback, draw ward maps before final approval
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
MERRILL – Lincoln County’s tentative supervisory district plan was approved by the county’s Board of Supervisors during its meeting at the Lincoln County Service Center in Merrill on Tuesday, Sept. 21.
With the adoption of the tentative plan, each municipality in the county will provide feedback regarding the boundaries and draw the wards that will be used for election purposes.
The process of redrawing district lines occurs every ten years, following the completion of the U.S. Census.
According to 2020 Census data provided by Andrew Faust, Senior GIS Analyst with the North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, Lincoln County’s total population decreased from 28,743 people in 2010 to 28,415 people in 2020, a difference of 338 residents.
2020 Census data listed the City of Tomahawk’s population at 3,441 people, an increase of 44 from the 2010 Census.
The City of Merrill’s population went down by 314 residents, according to Census data.
The Town of Merrill’s population decreased by 99 people, the largest drop in population of any Lincoln County township.
The Lincoln County municipality with the largest population increase was the Town of King, which saw its population grow by 109 residents since the 2010 Census.
Lincoln County population changes, 2010 Census to 2020 Census
Municipality 2010 Census 2020 Census Change Percent Change
City of Tomahawk 3,397 3,441 44 1.30%
City of Merrill 9,661 9,347 ‐314 ‐3.25%
Town of Birch 594 570 ‐24 ‐4.04%
Town of Bradley 2,408 2,382 ‐26 ‐1.08%
Town of Corning 883 825 ‐58 ‐6.57%
Town of Harding 372 364 ‐8 ‐2.15%
Town of Harrison 833 828 ‐5 ‐0.60%
Town of King 855 964 109 12.75%
Town of Merrill 2,980 2,881 ‐99 ‐3.32%
Town of Pine River 1,869 1,874 5 0.27%
Town of Rock Falls 618 635 17 2.75%
Town of Russell 677 693 16 2.36%
Town of Schley 934 950 16 1.71%
Town of Scott 1,432 1,377 ‐55 ‐3.84%
Town of Skanawan 391 386 ‐5 ‐1.28%
Town of Somo 114 123 9 7.89%
Town of Tomahawk 416 458 42 10.10%
Town of Wilson 309 317 8 2.59%
Lincoln County 28,743 28,415 ‐328 ‐1.14%
U.S. Census Data
“(The City of Merrill and the Town of Merrill) are the areas that you’ll probably see the most shifting of your districts,” Faust said.
Faust told the board that district lines must be shifted in order to make each district as close to equal in population as possible. In Lincoln County, the goal is to have 1,292 residents, or as close to that number as possible, in each district. That number is determined by dividing the number of residents in the county (28,415) by the number of Supervisory districts (22).
Faust explained that “overall deviation” is the “difference between the highest and lowest districts from the ideal number,” which, in Lincoln County’s case, is 1,292 residents.
“So if the ideal district was 1,000 (residents), and you had one district with 1,050 and another with 950, your overall deviation would be 10%,” Faust stated. “Courts have determined that deviation of less than 10% is generally constitutional.”
District 11 Supervisor Hans Breitenmoser said the redrawn Lincoln County district maps achieve roughly 10% overall deviation. If the maps hadn’t been adjusted, they would have had roughly 25% overall deviation, he added.
Faust noted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing Census data to be released later than they usually are, the time allotted to redraw the maps is shorter than it has been in previous years. Rather than having roughly six months to complete the process, the county was only afforded about two to three months.
“As long as the municipalities and the townships define their wards and sign their resolutions on their ward plans, we should be in good shape,” Faust told the board.
Faust said he and the board are hoping to get the finalized ward maps back from municipalities “as soon as possible in October.”
The board must finalize the maps before Nov. 23. After the maps receive final approval, County Clerk Christopher J. Marlowe will post a Type A notice, informing residents where the district lines lie and allowing interested individuals to complete paperwork to run for office in their respective districts.
Following further discussion, the tentative plan was approved by a voice vote.