Normal moves closer to referendum on creating council districts instead of at-large seats

Petition with almost 2,200 signatures filed Monday with Normal Town Clerk Angie Huonker
Petition with almost 2,200 signatures filed Monday with Normal Town Clerk Angie Huonker(25 News Now/Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 11:12 PM CDT
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NORMAL (25 News Now) - A group called “Citizens for a Better Normal” claims to have gathered enough signatures from residents to place a referendum on the November ballot that would create district representation on the town council.

Group members said they filed a petition Monday signed by almost 2,200 people to put the issue before voters.

Petition with almost 2,200 signatures filed Monday with Normal Town Clerk Angie Huonker
Petition with almost 2,200 signatures filed Monday with Normal Town Clerk Angie Huonker(25 News Now/Heart of Illinois ABC)

Right now, Normal runs an at-large system with council members representing the entire community.

The group has formed a coalition of conservatives and progressives calling for creating six districts with one trustee elected from each district. That trustee would have to live within the district’s boundaries, similar to the ward system in Bloomington.

“When everyone’s responsible, then no one takes responsibility, and when you have an actual representative from your area, then you can call on them when you have a problem, and they’ll know about it,” said Susan Lash who is one of the referendum backers.

Kathleen Lorenz, a current council member, told 25 News Now in June that she’s knowledgeable about all the neighborhoods in Normal, and that breaking the community into “small fiefdoms” would sow more disfunction and discontent.

Normal Mayor Chris Koos declined comment on Monday.

Normal has a population of about 54,000 and previous efforts have failed to convert to a district form of government.

Residents have five business days to file challenges to the petition filed Monday. If there are no challenges, the referendum will be sent to the county clerk to be included on the November ballot.

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