The 2010 census showed Aurora's population has been growing and shifting east, and city officials say the proposed ward map that's likely to gain city council approval next week reflects those trends.
Mayor Tom Weisner said the map follows redistricting guidelines by dividing the city's 197,899 residents into equal areas that are contiguous, compact and follow natural boundaries. The map brings the population of each ward to within five percent of 19,790 people.
“I do believe the community has acted in accordance with all the guidelines,” Weisner said about the result of the redistricting process required after each census.
The map's adherence to guidelines has city officials confident the new design is a fair way to split the city into ten wards.
“This is not a drastic change in the current ward map,” said Ed Sieben, zoning administrator.
Border changes bring part of west side Ward 4 to the east side of the Fox River, but move all of Ward 2, which used to span the river, east of it. Ward 9 would include all parts of Aurora in Kendall and Will counties, and Ward 8 would remain the only ward entirely in DuPage County.
Alderman John “Whitey” Peters asked at Tuesday's city council committee meeting if the map could withstand a legal challenge such as the one the city faced after the 2000 census.
A lawsuit filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund claimed the current map split the Latino population into five wards and did not give Latinos a fair chance to elect a candidate of their choice. The map was determined not in violation of the Voting Rights Act, but Weisner said Tuesday the city spent at least $750,000 defending itself.
Alderman Bob O'Connor said he thinks the city's “very well laid-out map” is poised to withstand any lawsuit.
It creates five wards with majority Hispanic populations of 86, 68, 53, 51.7 and 51.3 percent Hispanic residents and Sieben said it keeps established neighborhoods together whenever possible.
Aldermen are set to vote on the proposed map at 6 p.m. Tuesday at city hall, 44 E. Downer Place.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.