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West Seneca approves upsizing Town Board

West Seneca voters overwhelmingly approved adding two seats to the Town Board Tuesday, with nearly twice as many voters favoring increasing the board as those opposed.

The board has had three members — two councilmen and the supervisor — since 2010, after residents voted in 2009 to downsize the board by cutting two council positions.

This was the second vote to increase the size of the board, and it was a fairly quiet campaign.

Dan Warren, the leader of the movement to upsize the board, said volunteers took fliers door to door and stood outside polls Tuesday urging people to vote yes. They also had to let voters know the proposition was on the back of the paper ballot.

There did not appear to be any organized effort against the measure, unlike six years ago. Residents voted overwhelmingly in 2012 against increasing the board to five members.

It was a different atmosphere in 2012, when activist Kevin Gaughan hit the streets to ask voters to preserve the downsizing he had championed three years before that. Adding more politicians while the area was losing population and jobs made no sense, he said at the time.

But the Committee to Restore Representation in West Seneca, which was formed to put the proposition on the ballot this year, maintains that downsizing did not deliver on its goals of lowering taxes, increasing citizen involvement and establishing open government and open debate.

In addition to West Seneca, four other towns reduced the size of their town boards during the downsizing movement of nearly 10 years ago: Alden, Evans, Hamburg and Orchard Park. Hamburg residents voted to upsize from three to five members in 2015.

Candidates for the two new seats will be elected in November, 2019, and will begin their terms Jan. 1, 2020, according to Town Attorney John Fenz. One new councilman will be elected to a two-year term and one will be elected to a four-year term. There will be seven offices up for election in West Seneca next year: supervisor, three council seats, town clerk, highway superintendent and town justice.

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