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5-district McLean County Board remap plan wins committee approval, faces opposition on eve of full board vote

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BLOOMINGTON (WEEK) - A second Republican is having doubts about a GOP-backed plan to dramatically change the way county board districts are drawn in McLean County.

The county board's executive committee voted 5-3 Monday in favor of a plan dividing the county into five large districts instead of the current structure of 10 smaller districts. However, the outcome of a full board vote, expected at a special meeting Tuesday, is very much in doubt.

The committee's only Democrat, Laurie Wollrab, voted against the five-district plan along with Republicans Josh Barnett and Randy Martin.

Republicans control the board by an 11-9 margin, but the proposal will fail if all Democrats and two Republicans vote no.

Martin did not explain his concerns during Monday's meeting, but told 25 News he's worried the redistricting debate is creating an unhealthy rivalry between residents living in the country and those in the Twin-Cities.

Martin lives in rural Danvers and represents a district that's mainly rural, but also includes parts of southwest Bloomington.

Barnett said the five-district plan has been in the works for weeks or even months, but the matter was thrown into members' lap in April to create a "far more conservative voice" on the board.

As a result of what he said was a "shady" process, Barnett believes funding is at risk for the county-owned nursing home, the county's behavioral health initiatives, and the McLean County Museum of History.

"The entire process that we have gone through to get here has been flawed from Day One, and reeks of poor leadership and planning," said Barnett.

"Sometimes things need changing, and maybe there's a possibility to take a look at change more than poor leadership," said Board Chairman John McIntyre.

McIntyre indicated he'll have more to say at Tuesday night's special board meeting on a redistricting process that happens every 10 years.

The board would still have 20 members, but four would be elected in each of the five districts, instead of the current system in which voters choose two representatives in each of the 10 districts.

Tuesday's special meeting starts at 5:30 p.m.

Howard Packowitz

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