By ERIC TICHY
OBSERVER Mayville Bureau
MAYVILLE - Opposing plans by the reapportionment commission tasked with redrawing the county's new 19 legislative districts are set for a vote later this month.
The bipartisan committee, co-chaired by county legislators Larry Barmore, R-Gerry, and Tom DeJoe, D-Brocton, was unable to come to a consensus on two plans put forward.
As a result, both proposals - which reduce the legislature by six seats - will be presented during a public hearing on Oct. 24 and to the full legislature later that day. The redistricting takes into account data from the 2010 U.S. Census and legislation passed by lawmakers to downsize its ranks.
"The committee could not get a clear consensus on favoring one plan over the other," Barmore said. "Neither plan got enough votes to send it to the legislature."
Minda Rae Amiran of the League of Women Voters, who served on the commission, said she is "frustrated" by the overall lack of accord.
"The problem was we needed a majority to make any decisions," she said. "We had one member who never showed up and another who rarely attended."
The Fredonia resident said the plan put forward by Barmore late in the commission process was largely developed by an "outside consultant" and had already been rejected by the County Legislature.
"I'm worried this will hurt public input," Mrs. Amiran said. "We wanted an independent commission, but we had two legislators as the chairs. We had to compromise and sometimes that's what happens."
Steve Abdella, legislature attorney, said both redistricting plans currently are being drafted into local laws. To be enacted and sent to the county executive's office for final approval, either plan needs to receive a simple majority.
If neither is approved, it will be up to the legislature to decide what to do next - including sending the plans back to the reapportionment committee, Abdella said.
Barmore, however, is confident the plan he supports has the backing of the Republican Caucus, which has a majority in the legislature.
"I do think we have the votes to get the one plan passed," Barmore said. "Personally, I hope they vote on the other one first. Then maybe we can get a few people to come on board with the other one."
In the proposal supported by Barmore, Jamestown loses two of its six seats in the legislature. Fredonia and Dunkirk, meanwhile, would retain their two respective seats each in Mayville.
The alternate plan reduces Jamestown's presence in Mayville to five seats, one of which would include a portion in the town of Busti.
"There is no perfect plan," Mrs. Amiran said. "But I do think ours is more ideal."