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Oswegatchie endorses third St. Lawrence County redistricting plan

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The Oswegatchie Town Council went on record this week to support a third St. Lawrence County legislative redistricting plan, one requested by its own county representative.

Meeting Monday,the board voted 5-0 in favor of a plan requested of the county Planning Office by Republican Joseph R. Lightfoot.

All three plans will be discussed at a public hearing Monday at 5 p.m. in Canton.

The redistricting is due to population shifts recorded in the 2010 census. Also factored in was a recent state ruling that prison inmates cannot be counted as residents. That rules out the populations of Ogdensburg, Riverview and Gouverneur correctional facilities.

The proposal drafted by the planning office would divide Canton into districts that are currently represented by Republican Kevin D. Acres, Madrid, and Democrat Stephen M. Putman, Canton. It also has District 3, which currently includes the towns of Morristown and Oswegatchie and a portion of the city of Ogdensburg, picking up Hammond, which he favors because his district does not include part of the town of Canton.

The other two plans would split Canton into three parts. One of them includes a portion of Canton in District 3. The Oswegatchie resolution addresses the board’s opposition to that.

“Plan Three appears to make the most sense as it joins together that have common interests and does not affect the current legislative districts in the town of Canton,” the recommendation stated.

“It’s a much better plan,” Councilor Lillian O. LaRose said.

Also in the Planning Office proposal, District 4 which is represented by Alex A. MacKinnon, R-Fowler, would take Fine and Clifton from District 6 which is represented by Frederick S. Morrill, D-DeKalb Junction. District 4 would also take Clare from District 7, which is represented by Scott M. Sutherland, R-Pierrepont.

Also, District 5, which is represented by Donald A. Peck, R-Gouverneur, would pick up Rossie.

Voting with Ms. LaRose in favor of the third plan were Town Supervisor Alfred J. Nichols and councilors Michael G. Stoner, Bruce O. LaRose and Kenneth A. Wilson.

The other two plans - one drafted by Mr. Lightfoot and the other by Mr. Morrill and Vernon D. “Sam” Burns, D-Ogdensburg - were not supported by the board because each added a third legislative district to the town of Canton.

The town will send no one to Canton on Monday because, as the letter it will send states, “the hour set for the hearing has made it difficult for working people to attend.”

Mr. Lightfoot agreed with that at the board meeting. He asked rhetorically who could be expected to attend a meeting at that hour.

“Nobody, and that’s a crock,” he said.

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