By Eugenia Moskowitz
The Blooming Grove Town Board decided at its June 14 meeting to wait another two weeks to vote on whether to have a ward system referendum placed on the general election ballot this November.
A two-hour presentation by the bipartisan Citizen’s Committee and narrated by past board member Brandon Nielsen laid out the pros and cons of its research last week (a full public presentation will soon be scheduled and announced). The report will be available online, but there was disagreement among board members about whether it should be on the town’s website.
The difference between the two systems of voting is that in an “at-large system” the entire town population votes to fill all four council seats, and council members then represent the entire population, according to the report. In a “ward system” the population is broken into equal parts each having approximately the same population (based on the U.S. census). Each council member must reside in a ward to be elected by that ward and are then advocates for the ward in which they live, but also still represent all residents of the town on most issues. In both systems, the town supervisor is elected at-large.
The presentation stated that the ward system is well-suited for Blooming Grove, a large population in two villages, multiple hamlets, and a large unincorporated section all with different needs and interests. The report stated that the town is concerned with protecting its watershed, environment, and rural quality of life against the future impacts of over-development and high-density housing from special-interest groups whose water requirements pose a threat to the town.
For the complete story see the Friday, June 17 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post.