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COMMITTEE APPOINTED FOR REDISTRICTING

A five-member committee -- three Republicans and two Democrats -- has been appointed to work on redrawing the map of 19 County Legislature districts for this year's election.

The Republicans on the committee are Gerald E. Meal of Royalton, Shirley G. Urtel of Cambria and Gerald K. Farnham of Lockport. The Democrats will be Renae Kimble of Niagara Falls and John W. Cole III of Lockport.

All 19 seats will be up for grabs in November. Even though there is talk of reducing the size of the Legislature, Chairman Clyde L. Burmaster said that can't be done without a referendum, which, if passed, would not take effect until the 2003 election. So 19 members will be elected this year.

That also means if the Legislature is reduced, another redistricting process would be needed before the ensuing election.

The county is required to redraw the district boundaries after receiving detailed data from last year's U.S. Census. That information isn't expected to arrive until late March or early April.

The 19 districts are supposed to be as equal in population as possible without violating a complex set of state laws regarding splitting of municipalities.

Burmaster said the effective deadline for completion of the process is June 7, because that is expected to be the day that nominating petitions are to begin circulating for all offices on this year's ballot.

The official political schedule for the year has yet to be adopted by the State Legislature.

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