Kewanee, Ill. – A proposed redistricting for the Henry County Board would put Kewanee and Wethersfield in two different districts – and divide the city of Kewanee in two parts for county board representation.
The county board is required to adjust its districts every 10 years following the national census, to ensure all parts of the county get equal representation on the board.
At last week’s county board meeting, a board committee brought forth a proposal to change the board from its current three districts to five, and to reduce the board from 24 members to 20.
The proposal would put Annawan, Burns, Wethersfield and Galva townships in the same district, and Kewanee Township would be the lone township in its district.
“Kewanee might be getting the short end of the stick, as far as redistricting,” former council member Andy Koehler said during the public comments portion of Monday’s City Council meeting.
Mayor Bruce Tossell, who attended the county board meeting, said the redistricting proposal announced last week might not necessarily be the final map. Several board members, both Democrats and Republicans, spoke out against the proposal, Tossell said.
“If it stands as it is, Kewanee would be the only town that is split in half,” he said.
Tossell said according to comments from the county board meeting, one reason that Annawan and Wethersfield townships were put in the same district was that their high schools co-op sports.
Tossell said he saw no reason to make a drastic change in how the county is apportioned for county board representation.
“It’s divided into three districts now and it seems to be working fine,” he said, adding that small towns in the county have representatives on the county board.
The county board has scheduled a meeting Feb. 22 to discuss redistricting in light of detailed 2010 census figures for the county. Those figures are to be announced today on the Internet, City Manager Kip Spear said.
Also Monday, the council amended a series of resolutions that extend the city’s Enterprise Zone to the Bishop Hill wind farm.
Spear said the agreement between the city and Invenergy, the firm developing the wind farm, was approved last August. The agreement was never finalized because Invenergy never provided legal descriptions for the land to be added to the Enterprise Zone.
Those descriptions – 67 pages of them, Spear said – have now been provided, and have been added to all of the necessary documents for extending the Enterprise Zone.
Final approval of the extension must come from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. This should be no problem, Spear said, as enterprise zones have been extended to wind projects in at least a dozen other parts of Illinois.
Under its agreement with Invenergy, the city will receive $7,533 per wind turbine for extending the Enterprise Zone to the wind farm.
Since the wind farm is to include 133 turbines, that means a one-time payment to the city of just over $1 million.
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