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updated: 11/9/2010 6:17 PM

Naperville group wants districts by 2013

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The Naperville group responsible for the recently approved referendum proposal to elect some city councilmen by district says the system should be implemented in 2013.

State statute, however, requires the districting to go into effect at the next mayoral election, which is in April 2011.

Calling that deadline impossible, considering candidates begin filing nominating petitions next week, city officials hope a DuPage County judge rules in favor of the new districts going live with the 2015 mayoral election.

In a written statement Tuesday, Naperville Voter Education League Chairman Bill Eagan calls 2013 a reasonable effective date.

"We respectfully request the city and courts to consider district implementation in 2013 as a reasonable alternative to 2015. Given more recent census data than 2000 we believe that there is enough data for the lines to be drawn currently," Eagan wrote. "While we agree that those who were elected to a four-seat in 2009 have a right to fulfill their terms through 2013, there are other ways of implementing districts without impacting those councilmen."

Roughly 66 percent of voters on Nov. 2 approved dividing the city into five compact and contiguous districts, each with its own representative to the council. Under the new system, three council members and the mayor would continue to be elected at-large. New district lines would be drawn by the city manager once every decade when census numbers are released.

City attorney Margo Ely said she was happy to learn the league is not pushing for implementation as soon as next spring.

"I guess what I see is that the league agrees and understands this cannot be implemented in 2011," Ely said Tuesday. "I also agree that implementation of voters' wishes is something we should all work to achieve. I look forward to the league's participation in the case."

Eagan did not return a message left Tuesday evening.

Ely filed a legal motion asking the court to allow the city to implement districts in 2015. She said she hopes to get the case before a judge early next week.