TOWN OF HAMBURG, N.Y. -- Five years after voting to reduce the size of local government, Hamburg residents voted Tuesday in favor of a proposal to return to a five-member board.
"I think people just recognized the fact that a three-member legislative body doesn't work," said Town Supervisor Steven Walters, R-Hamburg.
The successful effort to downsize the town board to three members was pushed by downsizing and regionalism advocate Kevin Gaughan. Gaughan was able to sell the idea that smaller town governments would be more efficient and in the long run, save taxpayers millions of dollars.
Walters disagrees. He believes it stifles government.
"There can't be that proper communication when you have a three-member board because of the Open Meetings Law. It really makes it difficult to run day-to-day operations. It makes it difficult to bring new a new proposal or new ideas to the table," said Walters.
Gaughan says while he respects the decision of voters, his original intent was to help the town get past a history of government gridlock.
"My hope now is that with a larger board, the members take this mandate from voters and bring an end to the chronic squabbling and get back to serving the town as best they can," said Gaughan.
"It's good we're going back to a-five member board. It's going to lead to a lot greater efficiencies, a lot better communication, you're going to see a lot more new ideas coming forth and I think all around you're going to see a better town government," said Walters.
An election for the two new board members won't be held until 2016 and with the other two members on a two-year election cycle, which means the new full five member board won't be seated until 2018.