Local Lawmakers Fight Erie County Redistricting Plans

June 7, 2011 Updated Jun 7, 2011 at 7:02 PM EDT

By Jennifer Stanonis

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June 7, 2011 Updated Jun 7, 2011 at 7:02 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) -- The debate is heating up over the best way to redraw districts. The reapportionment committee has several proposals on how to redistrict Erie County, caused by down sizing the number of county legislators. These plans are not something several local lawmakers want. "When you go from 15 to 11 {legislators} you are making larger districts and it's very difficult at that time to get a district that is equally representative of the people who live in those areas," Evans Supervisor Fran Pordum said.

Dozens of town supervisors and mayors representing more than half the county met Tuesday morning at Elma Town Hall. They say the current proposals would divide towns and villages in a negative way. "In {proposal} number 5 there's a mega district that consists of 45% to 50% of the land mass of Erie County, making it virtually impossible for one legislator to properly represent," President of the Erie County Association of Governments and Brant Town Supervisor Leonard Pero said.

"It's a community feel...the sports, the Tri-Town, the Boys and Girls Club," Town Of Elma Supervisor Dennis Powers said. "Now you're tearing it apart, and it doesn't need to be done, that's the bottom line."

"Right now we share a legislator and we've been able to accomplish some things because of that continuity. This is really going to strain a lot of those relationships," Town of Hamburg Supervisor Steven Walters said.

This large group of local leaders say they will continue to fight the latest proposals and attend public hearings held by the legislature. "Re-think what's in the best and fairest interest of the people of this county because that's what we need...we need to bring our county back to the people," Pero said.

The next public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 9th at 5:00pm at Old County Hall, 4th Floor, in the City of Buffalo.

Calls to the county legislature and some who are in favor of these proposals, were not immediately returned on Tuesday.