County board approves 2-district map

Mary Davidsaver
Top: The three-district map used for the Henry County Board during the last 10 years. Bottom: The new two-district map, approved during the May board meeting.

The mayors of Colona and Orion, as well as other citizens, attended the Henry County  Board’s May meeting  to express their concerns that a two-district split.

Currently, the county is divided into three districts.The split would divide the county  — 12 townships to the north and 12 townships to the south.

Those addressing the board feared a change would have an adverse affect on the smaller communities in the western part of the county that now make up District One.

They worried that the influence of the larger cities, Kewanee and Geneseo, would be overshadowing. They also expressed dismay at the lack of public meetings and general information.

The cost that the county would incur for changes to the voting system was a recurring topic.

The overall expenses of county board members were also discussed in detail.

When the motion to reduce the number of board members from 24 to 20 was made, the amendments began to pile up.

The board waded through lengthy comments on three amendments: cutting the number in half to 12, was supported by three board members; reducing the board to 18, had eight votes; and the number 21, also had eight votes. All the amendments failed.

The roll-call vote on the original motion to limit the number of board members to 20 ended in a tie and therefore did not carry. A two-thirds majority was needed to pass any change in representation.

Changing the number of county districts from the current three to two did pass by a simple majority of 13 votes. Though the number of districts will change, the number of board members, 24, will remain the same.

In other business the board:

• Approved a name change for a section of North 1900 Avenue. Eleven property owners along a two-mile section requested the name change as a way to honor their connections to the Taets family. They agreed to pay for all expenses involving new signage and upgrades to the databases for 911 services and the county assessor. The board approved the name change to Taets Road.  

• Reviewed audit reports and noted total expenses of $1,767,844 with revenues of $1,516,059.

• Noted $44,000 in income from Invenergy for building permits. There will be road improves for an eight-week period with tower instillation for the remained of the year.

• Accepted the low bid for replacing courthouse windows from Johnson & Sons, Geneseo, for $13,670.

• Approved an intergovernmental agreement to provide law enforcement services to the village of Andover.