Suffolk legislator proposes reducing Legislature seats
A Suffolk legislator says his plan to reduce the number of Legislature seats from 18 to 13 would help the county close its $110 million budget gap.
"We have to raise taxes or we have to look at ways to cut, and it's either cut services or cut the size of government," says Legislator William Lindsay.
Legislators make about $100,000 a year. Lindsay says when you add in staff and other costs, trimming the seats could save about $2.6 million each year.
Lindsay's proposal to trim five seats is being considered by the Ways and Means Committee. If it goes before the Legislature and is approved, there will be a public referendum on the issue next November.
Southold Supervisor Scott Russell hopes the bill gets killed in committee. He say any savings will be inconsequential compared to the county's $3 billion operating budget.
He also says smaller East End towns will lose out if districts are consolidated.
"Western Suffolk County, they have infrastructure issues. They have public sewage issues. We don't have those things. We have different goals and different challenges," says Russell.
There will be two public hearings on the issue next month. One is Dec. 6 in Riverhead. The other is Dec. 20 in Hauppauge.