By CHUCK SMITH
For Rantoul Press
Last week in the Rantoul Press, Wendell Golston attempted to connect the Rantoul Tomorrow initiative to the political referendum titled "six-trustee district."
This referendum will be on the Nov. 6 ballot. Before you make your decision on this referendum, please consider the following facts.
The six-trustee district approach to Rantoul’s governing body has not been endorsed by the Rantoul Tomorrow initiative nor has permission been given for the use of the Rantoul Tomorrow slogan for political use.
The Rantoul Tomorrow initiative is a joint effort between the village of Rantoul, Rantoul City Schools and the Rantoul Township High School. This program was created and paid for by the boards of these taxing bodies.
The Rantoul Tomorrow initiative is the property of these taxing bodies. Specifically, this program defines the goals of the Rantoul community that include working with our schools, neighborhoods and the village of Rantoul for economic development.
The six-trustee district referendum is being touted as "better representation and better accountability." If this referendum passes, a trustee would be elected from each district to represent that district. This would likely result in districts/neighborhoods competing against one another for resources.
Such an outcome is in direct opposition of Rantoul Tomorrow’s overarching goal of working together as a community to improve our image, our schools and economic development.
Rantoul’s government is not broken. The current board was elected at large, which means each trustee represents the entire village. Our current system has checks and balances in place that create a large degree of accountability to all citizens of Rantoul, not just individual neighborhoods.
In my opinion, the current system offers better representation and accountability than the pending referendum.
Since the inception of Rantoul Tomorrow, we have not seen any participation on their part. Let me be vehemently clear, Rantoul Tomorrow was not established to enable political agendas of special interest groups.
For these reasons, I strongly encourage you to vote "no" on the proposed six-trustee district referendum on Nov. 6.
Chuck Smith is mayor of Rantoul.