Judge Blocks Second Amherst Referendum on Board Size

June 5, 2013 Updated Jun 5, 2013 at 11:33 PM EDT

By John Borsa

June 5, 2013 Updated Jun 5, 2013 at 11:33 PM EDT

AMHERST, NY (WKBW) - "From the beginning, this has been a misguided effort," said downsizing advocate Kevin Gaughan, after hearing a state judge has blocked the Amherst Town Board's efforts to retain a board seat that is supposed to disappear on January 1.

Gaughan successfully led the way three years ago, when Amherst voters decided to cut the size of its board.

"I'm very grateful that the court has put a temporary stay to this and I very much hope that on behalf of Amherst residents that the town board does not appeal the decision," he said.

Councilman Steven Sanders, who supported giving voters a second chance to sound off on the issue, is not sure if the town will appeal the judge's ruling.

"The town board would have to make that decision to appeal," he said. "But the cost would be minimal."

On Wednesday, State Supreme Court Justice Tracey Bannister blocked next Tuesday's referendum saying it violated state law.

In 2010, a majority of voters in Amherst decided to cut the size of the board over several years with the final board seat scheduled to be eliminated in January.

Currently, there are six board members seating which includes the town supervisor.

"There are certain advantages to a six-member board that I don't think people had considered previously," said Sanders.

The board could decide whether to appeal the judge's ruling at its next meeting on June 24.