City Council ready to vote on map of districts
By Bob Okon email@example.com November 1, 2013 11:08PM
Updated: December 4, 2013 6:39AM
A remap of the five Joliet City Council districts is headed for a vote.
The new map, which is unchanged from what was proposed in August, will be considered by the council at its Monday and Tuesday meetings.
The map had been put on hold to allow for community comments and the possibility of alternative maps. Several people spoke out about the map at an August meeting of the council’s legislative committee.
But in the end, no alternative maps were proposed, City Manager Thomas Thanas said.
The map draws the boundaries for the five city council districts, each represented by a council member. The council also has three at-large members and the mayor, all elected citywide.
There may be a proposal Monday to eliminate the at-large council seats and instead create eight districts. Richard Rodriguez, chairman of the Mexican American Coalition of Will County, has signed up to speak on the remap at Monday’s council meeting.
Rodriguez could not be reached for comment Friday. But the coalition has proposed previously going to eight council districts, saying it would create better opportunities for minorities to be elected.
Such a change in the structure of city government, however, would have to be approved in a citywide referendum.
In the meantime, Thanas said, it is important to set the boundaries for the five districts so potential candidates know the borders ahead of the 2015 council election.
The district map has to be redrawn because of changes in Joliet’s population as a result of the 2010 census. By federal law, the districts must have approximately equal populations, and now there is too much imbalance among them, Thanas said.
Based on Joliet’s population of 147,433 in the 2010 census, the target population for each council district is 29,487.
The five districts now range from 39,754 in District Three to 25,191 in District Four.