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Voters to decide on supervisor's term

Newstead residents will decide this fall whether to increase the supervisor's term to four years from two.

The Town Board agreed Monday night to put the proposal, initiated by Councilman Justin Rooney, on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The action followed a public hearing at which two people spoke. Douglas Ceisner, a former town councilman and an opponent of the change said he believes two years is sufficient. But Richard Forrestel said he favored a four-year term "because instead of looking at running every two years," the supervisor could devote a longer time to "doing a good job for the voters."

Councilman Richard Baran stressed that the term change was not being decided by the board.

"The people will make the decision in November," he said adding, "I see nothing wrong" with offering the proposal in a referendum.

Rooney and Councilman James Mayrose said becoming familiar with the complexity of the supervisor's job is difficult in just two years. The four councilmen serve four years.

"It takes quite a bit of time to learn the [councilman's] job, and the supervisor's job has a lot more responsibility," Mayrose said. As the town's chief financial officer, for example, the supervisor prepares the annual budget proposal for action by the board.

If the change passes this fall, it would take effect Jan. 1. The board did not want to make the change effective in 2014 because the terms of the supervisor, highway superintendent and town clerk all will expire Dec. 31, 2013.

Having the terms of all three positions ending at the same time "would not be in the public's interest," because if new people were elected to all three posts "it would make it difficult for the town to function," according to the resolution.

David Cummings, unopposed in his re-election bid in this fall's general election, is in his sixth term as supervisor. He has served the town since 1981, including 14 years as a councilman.

In other business, the board approved installing a fire hydrant in front of Niagara Specialty Metals, 12600 Clarence Center Road.

The company, which plans to add a 7,700-square-foot maintenance building, would pay for the hydrant and the annual hydrant fees as assessed by the Erie County Water Authority.

The additional hydrant was one of several suggestions made to the board by the Akron and Newstead fire companies during the site plan review.