SALINA, Kan. -

Citizens that want to give voters a chance to expand the county commission took the next step on Tuesday.

They officially turned in a petition to the county clerk’s office with more than 2,800 signatures. If 1,647 of those signatures are valid, the issue will be placed on the county’s November ballot, giving the voters a chance to expand the commission from three to five.

“I think there will be more consensus building,” organizer Janice Norlin said. “There will be more diversity, we hope. There will be better decision making.”

Organizers say the effort started in May, in response to some health department issues, but gained momentum after the commissioners rejected a grant that would by some forms of birth control.

The county commission had a chance to put the issue on the ballot back in May, but decided not to.  Chairman Randy Duncan does say he sees benefits as well as drawbacks to the addition of two commissioners.

“I do see increased costs for the county, increased costs for the tax payers,” Duncan said. “An advantage of an increased size of the board is if one commissioner is gone, you would still have four commissioners.”

Commissioners make $28,766.40 a year plus benefits that can range from $9,000 to $15,000.