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Supervisor welcomes Gaughan talk on downsizing

Hamburg Supervisor Steven J. Walters said Monday he would reach out to Kevin Gaughan to have a public discussion of the pros and cons of downsizing.

Gaughan filed petitions with the town clerk earlier this month to require the Town of Hamburg to hold a referendum on reducing the size of the board from five members to three.

"I would prefer not to call it a debate," Walters said during the Hamburg Town Board meeting Monday. "That sounds like we're going into it juxtaposed in our positions and our thinking."

Walters said he had heard that an invitation to debate had been extended to the Town Board and that the board had yet to respond.

"As of today, an invitation has not been received by either my office or by the town clerk's office, so there has been no invitation forthcoming," Walters said.

Walters has said in the past he supports trimming government, but he has questioned whether eliminating the positions of two councilmen is the most effective approach.

The Town Board has been serving with four members since the resignation of Tom Best in March to become highway superintendent. It has had to cancel one meeting for lack of a quorum.

Remaining board members said they took up the duties performed by Best and there would be more work for three members. Walters said one consequence of fewer members could be that some duties of the board would take longer to perform.

But he said residents should learn as much as they can about the proposal.

"We would certainly like to officially reach out to Kevin Gaughan and his organization to hold an informational meeting," Walters said. "I'd like to think of it as more of an opportunity to hear various pros and cons about the downsizing vote."

Gaughan is scheduled to speak on downsizing at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Hilbert College on South Park Avenue in Hamburg. Walters said he would reach out to Gaughan this week.

The supervisor also said he expects the Town Board to receive a recommendation from the town clerk and town attorney on when the referendum should be scheduled. Gaughan timed the filing of the petitions so the referendum could take place during the November general election, but the Town Board must set the date.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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