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Lawmakers set hearing on reducing Legislature GOP-backed plan eliminates 4 seats

Cattaraugus County legislators meeting Wednesday set July 27 for a public hearing on a new reapportionment plan that would reduce the Legislature to 17 members.

The plan is expected to go before voters in November. Following the hearing, lawmakers will then vote on the Republican-backed plan, which cuts four of the current 21 seats and reduces districts from 10 to eight.

The plan is expected to be approved July 27 because Republicans currently hold the majority of votes and it was on a Republican party-line vote Wednesday that approval was given to set the public hearing.

Based on the 2010 Census, the county's population has decreased by 5.1 percent, to 76,689. In 2000, the population was 83,955. The county covers 1,309.85 square miles and has two cities, Olean and Salamanca, and the Seneca Nation of Indians Allegany Territory.

A plan offered by Democrats would have reduced the board to 15 representatives. However, it did not receive enough support to get signed out of committees last week. A second plan offered by Democrats on Wednesday also failed for lack of enough votes.

The proposed plan would have eight districts. Two legislators would represent each district, except for District 8, which would have three legislators, down from the present five that represent the Olean area.

Others are:

District 1, Towns of Perrysburg, Dayton, Persia, Otto and New Albion, population 9,010.

District 2, towns of East Otto, Ashford, Yorkshire and Freedom, population 9,512.

District 3, Towns of Mansfield, Ellicottville, Franklinville, Lyndon, Machias and Farmersville, population 9,568.

District 4, Towns of Leon, Conewango, Napoli. Little Valley, Randolph and South Valley, population 9,082.

District 5, Towns of Salamanca (city and town), Coldspring, Red House and Great Valley, population, 9,842.

District 6, Towns of Carrollton and Allegany, population, 9,444.

District 7, Towns of Olean, Portville, Hinsdale, Ischua and Humphrey, population, 9,407.

District 8, City of Olean, population, 14,452.

If approved by voters Nov. 8, the redistricting plan would take effect in four years.

Chairman Michael T. O'Brien, R-Portville, said a special committee he appointed to develop a redistricting plan considered a board reduction to both 17 and 15 lawmakers and believed the county will be served more efficiently with the 17-member plan.