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Naperville
Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Residents can give input as Naperville outlines districts for City Council

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Open House seeks feedback at 3PM Tues., June 12

City Councilman Kenn Miller has been making the rounds to help residents understand the boundaries that will be assigned to five districts, a new way to determine City Council representation in Naperville beginning in 2015. On May 23, he addressed the Rotary Club of Naperville/Downtown during its weekly meeting at Hugo’s Frog Bar, noting he’d already presented to three other Naperville Rotary clubs.

With a well-defined Naperville map that features outlines of the  unincorporated areas that will not be affected, Councilman Miller has made himself available to talk to local groups about proposed district representation that was voted into existence by residents  in November 201o, the same election that supported another referendum for City Council term limits of no more than three four-year terms.

The proposed map depicts five color-coded districts, four of which are  close to equal population, maintaining the integrity of subdivisions and respect for geographic boundaries such as major arterial roads. One district, District 5,  in the southern-most portion of the city is expected to grow another 10,000 residents, so for now, that district has the least population, said Miller. The population for the new districts  is based on the 201o Census that counted 141,853 residents in Naperville.

Instead of hiring outside consultants, the maps have been drawn by City staff and some tweaking of boundaries is ongoing. That’s why input now is critical if residents want to express their opinions.

Since March, five open houses have been held throughout the city.  The open house for District 2 (the district that will include downtown) attracted the most resident participation. The other four workshops attracted very few residents.

The final all-district open house will be from 3-4:30PM, Tuesday, June 12, at the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St. It’s not too late to participate, Miller said.

At the present time, four of the five proposed districts have representation on City Council.  The proposed District 1 in the northwest section of Naperville (pink on the map), heavily populated with businesses, is without representation.  Currently, Mayor George Pradel, Councilmen Paul Hinderlong and Grant Wehrli  live in proposed District 2. Councilmen Steve Chirico and Joe McElroy live in proposed District 3. Councilmen Doug Krause, Bob Fieseler and Judy Brodhead live in proposed District 4. Councilman Miller lives in proposed District 5.

What tends to be confusing to some citizens is the introduction of term limits with the districts.  Term limits also were approved by voters in November 2010,  the same time residents voted for district representation. By state law, in 2013, the four City Council seats up for election will be to serve two-year terms.

In 2015, when the district representation begins, all nine seats of the City Council with the Mayor will be up for re-election.  At that time, City Council hopefuls will declare whether they are running “at large” or to represent one of five districts. To represent a district, the candidate must be a resident of that district. Five seats on City Council will be by district. Three will be elected at-large. The Mayor will be elected at-large.

The purpose of the open houses has been to explain the rationale behind the proposed districts and to answer questions residents may have about the process or how districts could have an impact on them.

For instance, will budgets be divvied up by district?  Will each district receive a stipend?  What if five members of the City Council are elected from the same district? (The possibility has been presented that the three at-large councilmen, the district councilman and the mayor could all live in the same district.  Compare that to the possibility that exists now of the mayor and all eight city councilmen living near downtown Naperville if the current system remained in tact.)  Many “what if this” or “what if that” exist in the world of unintended consequences.

For complete details and a page with frequently asked questions, visit the City’s Web site.

 

 

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