Montgomery County ratifies districts

FONDA – The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved nine new legislative districts and salaries for next year’s legislators and county executive.

The districts will go into effect Jan. 1 as the county shifts from a county led by a board of supervisors to a legislative form of government with a county executive.

The new legislative districts are split into nine sections, each making up portions of a town, village or the city of Amsterdam.

Montgomery County Senior Planner Doug Greene said the new map includes changes made to the Amsterdam city wards last week. Greene said the ward changes were made based on census blocks.

Board of Supervisors Chairman John Thayer and Greene on Feb. 13 showed county supervisors revisions to a previously proposed map of legislative boundaries. The changes included reassigning areas with roughly 200 residents – mostly from the city – to different districts.

Thayer said there have been no significant changes to the map since the Feb. 13 meeting. Officials at that meeting delayed approval until the city of Amsterdam revised its wards.

Glen Supervisor Lawrence Coddington said under the new legislative boundaries, the city of Amsterdam will be represented by three legislators, as opposed to the five current members of the Board of Supervisors now representing the city.

Salaries set

Also Tuesday, the board set salaries for the new officials.

According to the resolution, legislators will make $10,000 per year, the legislature’s chairman will earn $15,000 and the county executive will make $85,000.

Thayer and Minden Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush tried to change the salary levels. Thayer tried to raise both the legislator and chairman’s rates by $2,500 apiece, while Quackenbush tried to raise the rates by $5,000 apiece. Both amendments failed.

Fifth Ward Supervisor Michael Chiara and Amsterdam Town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza spoke out against the amendments.

“If you put this up for a referendum, I’d guarantee it would go down by 99 percent. Whether that $2,500 works out to pennies, it’s going to be meaningful on someone’s tax bill. It’s shameful … and I can’t agree with any raises like that,” DiMezza said.

Quackenbush said higher salaries would be justified because the new legislators would have a lot more work than just serving their towns.

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