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City prepares answers for questions about redistricting

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The city of Peoria has developed a FAQ sheet on its website to answer many of the questions about redistricting of City Council seats.

The sheet can be found at http://www.ci.peoria.il.us/redistricting.

Alma Brown, communications manager for the city, said the 2010 Census data showed population changes in the city that will cause changes to the boundaries of Peoria's five council districts. The city, she said, had public meetings about the changes earlier this summer, but still wanted to answer as many questions as possible.

"This is something the legal and planning departments have been working on. They've been getting a lot of questions about redistricting and how it will work so they thought this would make a handy reference for the public to view on our website," Brown said.

An Ad Hoc Redistricting Committee appointed by the council and chaired by Councilman Bill Spears is charged with drafting changes to the districts, which must be formally approved by the council by November 2012.

Each district is supposed to be nearly equal in population, with the goal for redistricting to put approximately 23,001 people in each. The maximum deviation will be 5 percent either way, from 21,851 to 24,151. To reach that District 1 through 4 would need to grow in population and the 5th District would need to shrink by more than 7,600 people.

Besides population, the city also plans to use major thoroughfares as boundaries and attempt to keep communities of interest together.

The council will next discuss redistricting in October to give the Ad Hoc committee time to consider public input regarding the city's form of government, which includes at-large council seats, and the number of districts. No changes in the current system can occur without a public referendum.

The next scheduled city council election is in April 2013, when the current five district seats will be up for election.

 

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).