The Supervisor put a resolution on the Town Public Meeting agenda at approximately 3 PM today (Tuesday April 12th). This resolution was to have the Town Supervisor speak for the Town Board and request an example set of ward districts be drawn by the Orange County Department of Planning for a "6 councilman" ward system.
No one could explain why this couldn't wait, but even a number of town citizens whose values I respect, came to the meeting tonight requesting it be passed as soon as possible. There seems to be rush to get this "Ward System" proposal on the November 2016 ballot come hell or high water. Personally I think it is foolish to rush this study, because a Ward System will NOT solve the fear some people are using as their reason to get this town election law change implemented. I actually think if it is passed it will make the situation far worse in regards to what people fear about the future. I just hope I am wrong, if this Ward System does get passed based on the wrong response to this fear.
Anyway, the resolution was passed 5-0, after it was amended at my insistence that the Supervisor request examples of both a "6 councilman" ward district system, and also a "4 councilman" ward district system. I also think there are some other examples the Supervisor should be asking for, which did not get the discussion they deserved because the Supervisor rushed the Town Board with this latest Ward resolution THAT WAS NOT DISCUSSED at a work session like it should have been, but for now this second requirement should suffice, since it is highly possible that a 4 Councilman Ward System is what we could land up with if a Ward System is approved.
Although I think changing the Blooming Grove Town Council from an "At Large" system to a "Ward System" is a very bad idea, I felt that the people in this town ought to know what could happen if somehow the "Ward System" ballot proposal makes it to the ballot in November 2016. That is because if "Ward System" gets on the November 2016 ballot by a partisan petition process, it must be two separate proposals: (1) a ward system proposal, and (2) a 6 person council proposal. That is what happened in Clarkstown in 2015. And those voters in Clarkstown approved a "Ward System", but those voters failed to pass the proposal to increase their town council size. So Clarkstown in Rockland County, which is nothing like Blooming Grove in Orange County (it is more than 4 times our size in population), will have 4 Councilman elected in their 4 wards starting in 2017.
Yes - each of Clarkstown's new 4 wards are bigger in population than all of Blooming Grove. Using the pro-Ward supporters logic, should they not have 16 to 24 wards to represent their population properly? This goes back to one of my many arguments against wards being used for Councilman elections in Blooming Grove, which can be found on this website.
One last thought for tonight: even though Fromaget can ask the Orange County Planning Department for Ward examples that keep village election districts together, there is no guarantee the Wards drawn by the Planning Department as examples in April or May 2016 will definitely be the wards put in place in 2017, or later after the 2020 census takes place.