Group pushes for change to local government

Local News

RANTOUL, Ill. (WCIA) — A group says it wants more representation. Friday, Rantoul Residents for Representation turned in a petition with more than 500 signatures. 

The group wants to ask voters whether the village should be divided into six districts this November.

Most of the trustees live on the north side of town, and supporters of the petition say it means there’s little representation for the southern side.

Residents have fairly positive reactions to the proposal. Local governments in Central Illinois can be sort of “cookie cutter.” Smaller communities tend to have trustees and larger ones have wards.

“Rantoul has been big enough for quite some time.”

Michael Schlosser believes it’s time for for the village to take the next step.

“We think by creating six different districts and having trustees elected by each district, then you’re going to get better representation from the entire Village of Rantoul.”

Right now, six village trustees are elected at-large and can live anywhere in the village.

“All of our trustees right now live on the north end of Rantoul.

“In other words, if I live in a neighborhood in a certain district, and I have concerns that are specific to my neighborhood, then I have a trustee that lives in that same area that can empathize with some of the same issues that I have.”

He says with people living in the same areas as their voters, problems can be better addressed. Families living on the south side of town say they already feel pretty well-represented.

“Our local government, they get along pretty good with the people.”

John Johnson retired from the military and has been living here for more than 30 years. He says he’s never had any major problems.

“I’m happy and my wife is happy. People around here mostly keep to themselves.”

Others say the change sounds like common sense, and Schlosser says that’s the whole point.

“There’s so many more positives with this change, and I realize change is hard. I think you’re going to get more people stepping up and comfortable in approaching the issues they have, compared to the way the village is set up now.”

The village has the option of filing an objection to the petition, but the administrator say he doesn’t expect to take a stance on the issue.

Rantoul Residents for Representation claims areas in the southeast and east have problems. Members say those parts of town need better roads, more street lights and a reduction in crime. 

They believe electing trustees to represent individual wards would shine a light on those areas.

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