by Susan Mikula Campbell
The Niagara County Legislature has set a public hearing on the latest version of its proposed redistricting plan for 6:30 p.m. on April 19 at the regularly scheduled Niagara County Legislature meeting.
A vote on the 15 new districts, reduced from the current 19 districts, is expected that night.
The Niagara County Legislative Reapportionment Commission, an independent group, was formed so that the redistricting would be based on 2010 census figures rather than politics.
The commission released its first proposal, then, after a public hearing on April 7, released a revised map that evening (after the Tribune went to press).
One concern was the splitting of the Wheatfield hamlet of Bergholz into two different districts.
Wheatfield Supervisor Bob Cliffe said at last week's commission meeting: "We would have preferred to have one wholly owned legislative district within Wheatfield. However, we understand the magnitude of the task before you. I do appreciate that you did listen to us, that you did put Bergholz into a single legislative district."
However, among the changes, the commission did a similar cutting in the River Road area where one side of the street will be in one district, and the other side of the street in another.
The original map also put Legislature Chairman William Ross of Wheatfield and Legislator Danny Sklarski of Town of Niagara in the same district, which would have meant one of them would have to step down. The latest change put Ross and former Village of Lewiston Mayor Richard Soluri in the same district, but Soluri, who was appointed to replace former legislator now Assemblyman John Ceretto, since has announced he does not intend to seek election.