By Natalie Zarowny
Should the Rock Island County Board downsize from twenty-five members to fifteen?
That's one of the questions on the ballot in Rock Island County November 6th. For locals, voting yes or no on reducing board members wouldn't actually mean any immediate change.
The question is advisory, it's used to gauge opinion.
"The most important thing we're trying to do is find out from the people, do they want to downsize from twenty-five to fifteen," said John ‘Mike' McColl, a Republican on the Rock Island County Board.
If the voters' answer is yes, then further town hall meetings will figure out the specifics.
Republicans on the board say they believe downsizing would make the local political process more transparent.
Plus, they say Rock Island isn't big enough to need so many board members; it's a waste of taxpayer dollars.
"With fifteen people, everybody knows what's going on, a lot better than twenty-five," said McColl.
Democrats, on the other hand, don't agree.
They said there are a lot of rural areas in the county, so many folks wouldn't be represented with fewer board members.
Furthermore, Democrats say if the board was cut, it would actually be more expensive, because an administrator and assistants would need to be hired.
"I've never had a call from anybody saying to reduce the size of the county board, and I've represented this area ever since 1968," said Don Jacobs, a Democrat on the Rock Island County Board.
Whatever the outcome, board members on both sides of the spectrum want voters to understand what they're voting for, and to keep staying involved in the process.
"Every time there's a board meeting or committee meeting, it's open to the public," said Jacobs.
The question about board reform will be located on the last page of the ballot for Rock Island County.