The redistribution of the Champaign County Board was stalled by the delay within the 2020 census coverage

URBANA – Work started in January to submit a new map of the Champaign County Board district is likely to be suspended due to a delay in generating data from the 2020 US Census.

District manager Darlene Kloeppel said a 13-person advisory group that is supposed to offer a community perspective as part of the redistribution plan has met three times but will not be able to do more until the census data is available in September.

The group will meet again on March 25, then expected to take a break for the remainder of the spring and summer pending the 2020 census data.

Kloeppel had initially hoped to submit a restructuring plan to the district board for approval in June.

Redrawing district boundaries is a process that state law requires every ten years to bring the representation into line with the population shifts that have occurred since the last census.

The new district boundaries will determine how the district board members will be elected over the next ten years.

The current board of directors consists of 22 members, two each in 11 districts. This structure was created after the Board decided in 2010 to reduce its size from 27 members in nine districts and new district lines were drawn, with all 22 seats up for election in 2012.

Kloeppel said she would like to reduce the size of the board even further, but add more districts with a total of 15 to 19 districts with one representative each.

Having 22 members is “too unwieldy,” she said.

Both Democrats and Republicans on the board have already decided to keep the board size and number of districts the same after discussing this at their meetings.

The current size of the board works well, according to Champaign’s Democrat Stephanie Fortado.

County Republican caucus leader Jim Goss said the ward had made some effort to move to districts with only one member, and before he began serving on the county board, he may feel the same way.

The problem with districts with only one member, however, is that no one can ever miss a meeting, Goss said.

With two members per district, there is a chance one board member will be sick or out of town to phone the other, provide contributions from constituents, and keep the district represented in votes, he said.

One concern he has: New boundaries are being drawn to ensure that rural dwellers, who rely more on county services than urban dwellers, are represented as well as possible.

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