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Chautauqua Legislature to Remain at 25 Members

By Nancy Barger

Jamestown, NY – It looks as though incumbents will not be pitted against each other in Chautauqua County's next legislative races under a recently-unveiled redistricting plan.

Chautauqua County lawmakers had talked about reducing the size of the Legislature but opted to maintain the status quo.

Legislators contend that by adding institutional populations like Fredonia State students and Brocton prisoners in their plan they are compensating for the 1.5 percent loss of residents measured by the 2000 Census.

"We had consideration of both a 23-member plan as proposed by the Republicans and a 19-member plan proposed by the Democrats," said Legislature Chairman Keith Ahlstrom, who chaired the Reapportionment Commission. "It really came down to drawing those plans and looking at how they would fall. We could not come to any agreement on where consolidations would be made and where the changes would be made. So, we came to the realization the best way to proceed at this time would be to continue with a 25-member Legislature."

A resolution to hold a public hearing on the reapportionment plan sailed through the legislature this month. A local law establishing the new district lines is expected to be signed following the hearing at the Legislature's June 26th meeting.