MAYVILLE - A reapportionment committee tasked with redrawing the county's legislative districts is inching forward.
Two proposals by the committee were handed out during a special meeting of the legislature Wednesday, and represent two opposing views on how to downsize the legislature from 25 seats to 19.
Lawmakers in February agreed to the reduction, slashing six seats from the legislature, which comes after a referendum passed overwhelmingly last year for the downsize.
County Legislator Larry Barmore’s, R-Gerry and majority leader, redistricting proposal for Chautauqua County.
"They're just the latest proposals that show a couple of different options," said Majority Leader Larry Barmore, R-Gerry, adding that "more work" is needed between members of the commission before a final plan is released.
After eight meetings of the reapportionment committee to hash out a plan, which includes members of the public, the dueling proposals headed to the legislature's two caucuses for discussion. After some party line input, the committee is expected to continue their work.
"We agreed at our last meeting to go back to our caucuses to get some input," Barmore said. "I did just that and was shown support with the one I submitted."
Barmore's proposal, which he said is "good enough to be voted on now," reduces Jamestown's districts to four seats, down from six. Fredonia and Dunkirk would retain its two respective seats each in Mayville.
Six districts in his proposal have contested races, one of which pits a Democrat - Tom DeJoe of Brocton - against Republican John Runkle of Stockton. George Borrello, R-Irving, would also face off against Rod Rogers, G-Forestville.
Another potential race to note would be between three sitting Democrats in Jamestown, Victoria James, Tim Hoyer and Robert Whitney. All three seats are consolidated in Barmore's plan.
"In all honesty, I've got 12 votes for sure (in the legislature)," Barmore said of his plan. "Exactly where the Democrats stand I couldn't tell you. I could tell you is that I try to do what's right and I try to be as transparent as possible. I put myself into this situation."
Another proposal, created by DeJoe, would require six races to determine a representative, one of which would be between a Democrat and a Republican. The alternate plan reduces Jamestown's presence in Mayville to five seats, one of which would include a portion of the town of Busti.
"We are moving forward," DeJoe said. "We're getting to the phase where the gloves are going to come off and do some battling. I don't like to get pushed around."
DeJoe said he hopes to get a finalized plan ready by late fall, and hoped to avoid any gerrymandering.
"We have to keep the people in mind," he said. "Barmore came in at the last second in the meeting with his proposal and has one district that goes over (Chautauqua Lake). I want to keep the towns together as much as possible."
The committee, co-chaired by Barmore and DeJoe, comes after a similar effort was unable to gain legislature support before last year's election. Had the proposal, which called for 19 districts, passed in April, the legislature would have been set for 2012. Chaning the County Charter requires a super majority vote (17 votes).
The balance of the bipartisan group includes Kevin Sanvich of the county Chamber of Commerce and citizens David Sheppard and Michael Haddad of Jamestown, Sharon Kaminski of Fredonia, and Raymond Rusboldt of Dunkirk.
"I'm hoping to get this done soon," Barmore said. "We've put a lot into this."