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Muskegon County board cut to 7 commissioners

The number of commissioners in Muskegon County will be reduced from nine to seven starting in 2023.

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — The Muskegon County Apportionment Commission voted to reduce the number of county commission districts from nine to seven on Monday.

The 4-1 vote finishes the work the commission is required to do every 10 years following the census.

The goal of the commission is to make changes to the county commission districts every decade, in an effort to keep the districts generally the same size based on population. The commission also works to keep communities inside the district as intact as possible.

The apportionment commission is made up of Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson, Muskegon County Treasurer Tony Moulatsiotis, Muskegon County Clerk Nancy Waters, Democratic Party Chair Ryan Bennett and Chris Kaijala, who was appointed to the commission to represent the Republican Party.  

Since July, the commission has held several meetings to take community input on the more than one dozen maps under consideration.

The maps showed versions of the current nine commission districts, others with 11 districts and multiple options with seven districts.

"I think the impact for the citizens of Muskegon County isn't going to change a whole lot. Certainly we get good decision-makers filling those seven seats that have certainly the interest of the district that they represent but also the interest of the entire county as a whole," Hilson said. 

"There were people that were going to be happy and there were people that were not going to be happy. That's just a fact regardless if if was seven, nine or 11."

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Kaijala was the only negative vote in the motion to select a commission district map with seven districts.

"They were very interested in doing something that's best for their party," Kaijala said. "We still have strong holds all over this county and we are going to give them a run for their money we just have to do it one a new map." 

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