New York towns voted to downsize government
New York: Both West Seneca and Evans town voters voted on June 3, 2009 in favor of reducing the size of the town's government starting in 2010. In both towns two positions will be eliminated from the elected town boards. Regardless of the outcome, Wednesday vote marks the first time that Erie County residents have voted on that issue. Referendum supporters argue that reducing the 5-person board in West Seneca and the 4-person board in Evans would save the town money and "bring government back to the people." Opponents argued that the savings of reducing the board's size is minimal and the cut will only reduce residents’ representation in local government. According to Kevin Gaughan, the local resident who organized the referendum, every town and village board in Erie County dropped two members, taxpayers would save a total of $10.2 million. West Seneca Supervisor Wallace C. Piotrowski said, "The residents are screaming to save money, and this is one way to save money." However, some residents said that they are mostly concerned about the shift in political power that downsizing could cause. “If you have one person on vacation and one out sick, your government will be absolutely at a standstill. It would be a nightmare,” said a town resident against the referendum.
The Wednesday vote, however, won't be the last that the state of New York will see of the downsizing issue, according to supporters. Gaughen said that later this year other towns (Orchard Park, Hamburg and Alden) will also vote on the issue.