Seventy-two percent of voters in Rock Island County voted in favor of reducing the county’s board members. However, that vote is not binding and newly elected Republicans will now need to work from the inside if they want to make any changes soon.
“We’re going to do what we can to reduce the size of the board,” says newly elected board member, Ron Oelke.
It turns out that changes are not going to happen anytime soon. Voters were asked to voice their opinion on whether or not the Rock Island County board should reduce its members from 25 to 15. This vote was merely an advisory referendum which means nothing has to happen.
County board member Don Johnston says they missed the opportunity when they had the chance, “I wish it would have been released at that point when it could have been.”
The board can only shrink its size every ten years when a census takes place.
Joan Stopoulos voted for the reduction in board members, “Well, I think probably it would be more efficient, it would save us some money.”
Johnston agrees with her, “Right now we have 18 people under this committee system that really has little knowledge of what their voting on in every vote.”
Johnston says there’s no need for that many members for a small county.
“I think people that voted for it, and they voted for it strongly are going to be a little disappointed that something has to happen down the road rather than immediately,” says Johnston.
Any binding referendum would need to be on the ballot at least two years before the next census.