Monday, October 10, 2011

Republicans Keep Bloated County Legislative Districts Costing County $$$ for Political Status Quo

It didn’t take long for a special committee to decide not to reduce the number of Oswego County legislators.

Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann named Legislator Dan Chalifoux as chairman of the redistricting committee and Legislator Amy Tresidder as the vice-chairman. Legislator Fred Beardsley rounded off the committee as the third member.

According to Leemann, the committee recommended against a reduction in the number of legislators representing the county’s 122,000 residents. They will, however, redraw the district lines.

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 in election costs.

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.

The Democrat caucus requested the study and Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said Wednesday that he wasn’t surprised by the outcome, but he was disappointed that such a short amount of time was spent on the issue.

“I’m not surprised,” he said.

Kunzwiler added that he expects the redistricting will be gerrymandered to peg one Democrat against another in the election. The last time the county redrew the district lines, the Democrats alleged the Republicans had redrawn the lines unfairly.

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