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updated: 8/17/2011 9:22 AM

Naperville redistricting map to be presented by New Year's Eve

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Naperville residents should have a first look at what the five new voting districts could look like by the end of the year.

City Manager Doug Krieger said a team of staff members with expertise in various disciplines will use 2010 census data to draw a rough draft of the map that would then be put up for public inspection. Boundaries, he said, would be "massaged" by precinct lines to eliminate ballot confusion and the splitting of neighborhoods may be used as "tiebreakers" in some cases.

"I really just want to get the first map out there to see what it looks like," Krieger said. "Then the council can decide whether to designate the map for community input or assign it to a subcommittee."

Councilman Gran Wehrli agreed that is the best option.

"Let's give this a good soak in public, then we can get engaged," Wehrli said. "Otherwise, we could literally spend decades trying to solve this problem."

During the Nov. 2 election, roughly 66 percent of voters approved dividing the city into five compact and contiguous and equally populated districts, each with its own representative to the council by the 2015 election.

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. Four council members whose seats will expire in 2013 will also only serve two-year terms if re-elected.

Several councilmen were concerned that giving the map-drawing responsibility to a subcommittee too early on could subject the process to "infiltration" of members who could turn the process into a partisan one.

Councilmen Kenn Miller and Doug Krause were the only two councilmen opposing the plan that has staff present the first map.

Miller said he felt the process will now take too long to get resident input.

"The original plan was to form a subcommittee to hash some of this out and show us the direction they see this thing going," Miller said. "But now the first version anyone sees will be staff produced. I think that's putting the cart before the horse."

Councilmen now expect to have a pretty solid map in place by June 2012, in anticipation of the 2013 election.