The bottom line is in: Taxpayers spent more than three times the projected cost to redraw the state's political districts.
Voters gave the commission $3 million to draw legislative and Board of Equalization district boundaries by passing Proposition 11 in 2008.
Money ran out quickly.
The final tab was $10.4 million, roughly one-third of which was Bureau of State Audit funds used to solicit and screen applicants for the 14-member citizens panel that replaced the Legislature in drawing political districts.
Executive Director Dan Claypool said it is not surprising that the commission's initial $3 million fell short. The state never before had attempted independent redistricting, and the authors of Proposition 11 took their best shot at estimating cost, he said.
"In fairness, when you're working in a void and just attaching a number, one number is as good as the next," he said. "But we believe this (bottom line) will provide a more realistic basis for next time around."
The commission pegged its own costs at $6.9 million and the Bureau of State Audit's tab at $3.5 million. The figures do not include $3.3 million spent by the Irvine Foundation to educate community groups and encourage public comment as initial maps were drawn and released.
Commissioners were not paid a salary, but received $300 for each day they worked. Other expenses included the cost of holding public hearings throughout the state, travel, a roughly 10-person administrative staff, public relations, line-drawing services, computer software, and legal counsel to defend against lawsuits challenging the new districts.
Funded only through June 30, the redistricting commission is preparing to shut down. Its cost estimates Thursday covered a three-year process that began with recruiting thousands of potential panelists and climaxed with the drawing of new political districts that were used in this week's primary election.
Days before selection of the panel's first eight members in November 2010, Californians approved Proposition 20 to expand the panel's duties to include congressional boundaries. The voters' action increased costs, by an unspecified amount, but did not add more funding.