Monday, September 12, 2011

Oswego County explores reducing districts

At the request of the Oswego County Legislature’s Democrat caucus, a committee has been formed to explore the possibility of reducing the number of legislative districts.

During an organizational meeting Tuesday, several county officials spoke in regard to the issue.

There is the potential for a significant cost savings should the legislature reduce its numbers. Along with the savings in salary, state retirement and benefits paid to legislators, county Election Commissioner Donald Wart said district reduction would save the taxpayers thousands of dollars.

There are currently a half-dozen small election districts because of the way the lines were drawn, Wart noted.”If you eliminated those districts you’d be saving $9,000 a year,” he said.

Each election district costs the county between $1,000 and $1,500, Wart said, adding that some of the costs include inspectors and training.

Legislator Amy Tresidder, a member of the Democrat caucus, recently presented research that showed Oswego County has more legislators per capita than other counties with similar populations.

Legislator Dan Chalifoux, who serves as chairman of the redistricting committee, asked Tresidder to share her findings with the other committee members and interested legislators.

According to the most recent U.S. Census data, the county’s population has not changed much since 2000, however, some of the county’s legislative districts have shifted, resulting in several districts that are more than five percent above the average and others that are more than five percent below this average.

The population of each district is at an average of 4,884. The district exceeding in population are in Mexico, Palermo, Central Square, Phoenix and the Town of Oswego.

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