County Executive Vetoes Redistricting Plan

June 28, 2011 Updated Jun 28, 2011 at 6:34 PM EDT

By Lou Chilelli

...
June 28, 2011 Updated Jun 28, 2011 at 6:34 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) -- Erie County Executive Chris Collins announced Tuesday that he is vetoing the redistricting plan recently approved by the county legislature. Last year, residents voted to reduce the size of the legislature from 15 members to 11 members. After months of public hearings and a citizens committee...the democratic majority of the legislature approved their own new legislative district map.

"Clearly in my opinion, the 5-1 plan hurts the rural communities. It draws districts that make no geographic sense what so ever and dilutes minority representation in the county legislature," Collins said. One of the new proposed legislative districts runs from the northern edge of the county to the southern edge....before it turns toward Lake Erie.

"When you have one district that encompasses 47 percent of the land mass of Erie County...and another that includes both Orchard Park and Allentown...you know it's a plan that does not pass the smell test," Collins added.

Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz is concerned that without a quick settlement of the issue...a new map will be drawn by a judge and not those representing the citizens. "It's going to go back in front of the legislature. I don't think they are going to be able to override the veto and we are back to square one. As a result, I don't see any thing getting done on the horizon. All I see are lawsuits, court challenges that are going to cost the taxpayers much more money in the long run," Poloncarz explained.

The county legislature meets Thursday. If the legislature is going to act...they need to do it quickly...Primary Day is only 11 weeks away.