County Board discusses downsizing


OREGON – A member of the Ogle County Board has suggested the body reduce its size from the current 24 members down to 16.

At the regular board meeting on Jan. 21, Bruce McKinney, who represents Rochelle on the board, said the county currently has eight districts with three people elected from each district to the board. During a presentation, he suggested lowering the number.

“What I would like to see is us go from eight districts to 16,” he said, adding that only one person would be elected to the board from each district.

He said the goal would be to eliminate multiple board members who serve the same area.

“This isn’t anything unusual,” he said of the change.

For example, Winnebago County has 20 board members, with one person elected from 20 districts. The number of board members in area counties varies, from nine in Carroll County to 24 in DeKalb County.

“I think it would be better representation on the County Board for Ogle County,” McKinney said.

Board member Kimberly Whalen asked what would happen to committee assignments if the number of board members was reduced. She said that might put more pressure on board members to fill out committees.

McKinney said that some may have to add another committee to their workload, but the county could also look at combining some committees.

Board member Dan Janes said changing the voting districts could be difficult, as there are state guidelines to follow, including population. He said changing districts could adversely affect multiple “population center,” like Byron.

McKinney said that the county might then look at having two people elected from the current eight districts. That would still reduce the number of board members by eight.

Board member Thomas Smith suggested the board wait until it gets fresh census numbers, and then form a committee to look at the right number to downsize the board to.

The board took no action on the matter.