The Kane County Redistricting Task force considered a "97 percent complete" draft of a map delineating 24 newly shaped County Board districts, representing the elimination of one member's district and in one instance pitting two Elgin incumbents together in a possible 2012 runoff.
District 9 in North Aurora, currently held by retiring board member Jim Mitchell, was removed and absorbed by surrounding districts that needed to grow in population.
The other seat reduction was achieved in Elgin's District 19, where task force chairman Cathy Hurlbut combined her district with that of District 18's Jeanette Mihalec, forcing a possible head-to-head contest between the republican Hurlbut and the democrat Mihalec in 2012.
As for why Hurlbut put herself on the line she said, "somebody had to do it so it might as well be me." Hurlbut said she spoke to Mihalec about this in advance and referred to her as "a good sport."
My District 11 in Geneva, which covers most of Geneva east of Randall Road, except the area north of Kaneville Road, remained nearly intact, while significant territory was added in the northwest and far west areas of Batavia to achieve the required population of 21,500, plus or minus five percent. The southward expansion was created by the elimination of the North Aurora district. Batavia board member Tom Van Cleave also shifted significantly to the south.
With a 24-seat map virtually complete task force member Jim Mitchell asked why so much time and effort was being put into this map when the number of districts has not been formally endorsed by the county board. Hurlbut cited the prior task force 5-1 vote and the county board's 14-10 straw poll in favor of 24 seats as providing the direction she was to follow, and she said so.
"If the County Board wants us to draw a 26 or 22- seat map we'll do it, but right now we're focusing on the map the county board asked us to work on," she said.
During the discussion, only two members expressed a desire to see a 26-seat map and none requested a map with fewer than 24 seats. Mitchell called for the task force to reaffirm their prior recommendation for 24 seats, which was passed unanimously by voice vote.
The new draft map will soon be available for viewing by the public on the county's web site www.countyofkane.org.