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Legislator questions need for redistricting referendum

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St. Lawrence County Legislator Vernon D. “Sam” Burns, D-Ogdensburg, disputes the contention of Legislator Joseph R. Lightfoot, R-Morristown, that other options were not considered for a redistricting plan.

Mr. Lightfoot and his supporters are circulating petitions that could put the plan — adopted by county legislators Nov. 5 — up for a public vote in November. Mr. Lightfoot has criticized the plan for changing Canton from two to three districts and for not combining Hammond with the district that includes Morristown.

Mr. Burns, who chaired the county redistricting committee, said it was clear any member could submit a plan. The committee brought two plans for consideration to the Board of Legislators, including one developed by Mr. Lightfoot.

“At the last minute, he presented another plan,” Mr. Burns said. “That’s fine. He can do that. Other options were presented. They were debated. His were defeated.”

The public hearing about the adopted plan attracted only a handful of speakers.

“In my city and in 30 out of 32 towns, it’s a nonissue,” he said.

Mr. Burns said he wondered whether those circulating the petitions are telling potential signers the majority of the districts remain unchanged.

“That’s a question I have for them,” he said. “The change we did is quite minor.”

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