West Seneca and Alden were on their way to keeping their town boards downsized.
Alden rejected upsizing, 68 percent to 32 percent, as did West Seneca by the same percentages, but with 88 percent of districts reporting.
Voters in each of the two towns, by solid margins, rejected returning to five-member town boards, after approving reducing the boards to three members in 2009.
The “upsizing” ballot measures were in the spotlight following a wave of town and village board downsizings in Erie County approved in recent years.
“This a great victory for Alden, for West Seneca and for every Western New York taxpayer,” said Kevin Gaughan, who along with his volunteers campaigned to keep the town boards downsized. “When our Western New York economy finally begins to grow again, history will record these votes as an important turning point.”
West Seneca voters in June 2009 decisively approved reducing the size of their Town Board to three members from five. Alden approved its downsizing in September 2009, but by only 32 votes.
In West Seneca, the smaller board took effect at the start of 2010. Board members at times have lamented the limitations that have come with a three-member board.
They said they were restricted in their ability to communicate with each other about town business outside of legally advertised meetings, based on restrictions in the state’s Open Meetings Law.
With 66 percent of districts reporting, 68 percent of voters opposed upsizing the board. Even with those incomplete results, 11,823 voters had already cast ballots, higher than the 10,497 total votes cast in the 2009 referendum.
Last month, downsizing advocate Gaughan lashed out at the board’s decision to put the upsizing measure on the ballot, saying the board was defying the wishes of the town’s voters.
While Alden voted three years ago to shrink its board from five members to three, the change did not take effect until the start of this year.
Alden Supervisor Harry F. “Bud” Milligan has said he felt the downsized Alden board concentrated too much power in the supervisor’s office, because of the limitations placed on communication between board members.
In other area results:
Christopher Aronica was leading Sheila Ferrentino in a race for a Town Board seat that Aronica was appointed to in January. With 61 percent of districts reporting, Aronica led, 57 percent to 43 percent.
The vacancy was created when Mary Cooke resigned her seat to become town supervisor. Aronica was named to the seat by a 3-1 board vote; Cooke cast the dissenting vote. Ferrentino’s nomination failed to win approval when the board voted 2-2 on naming her to the position.
Aronica ran on the Democratic and Conservative lines; Ferrentino ran on the Republican and Independence lines.
Annette Iafallo defeated Diane M. Kozak, 76 percent to 24 percent, in the race to fill a vacancy for the Lackawanna City Council’s Second Ward seat. Iafallo ran on the Democratic and Conservative lines, while Kozak ran on the Republican and Independence lines.
Joseph L. Jerge was elected 3rd Ward councilman, running unopposed.
He was appointed to the seat in September, filling a vacancy created when Councilman Francis J. Kulczyk died in July.
Christopher P. Scanlon won a race to represent South Buffalo on the Common Council, defeating A.J. Verel, who ran on the Republican line. Scanlon, who was on the Democratic and Conservative lines, had 75 percent of the vote with 86 percent of districts reporting. He fills the vacancy created when Michael P. Kearns was elected to the state Assembly.
With 81 percent of districts reporting, voters were favoring a local law to abolish the elected office of Receiver of Taxes and Assessments and transfer the obligations to the town clerk, by 55 percent to 45 percent.
Jennifer A. Mule was elected town clerk, after running unopposed to fill a vacancy.
Michael B. Powers was re-elected to a four-year term as town judge. He ran unopposed.
Incumbent Victoria B. Zach defeated challenger Michael R. Schneider, 52 percent to 48 percent, in the race for town justice. Paul J. Clarkson was elected highway superintendent in an unopposed race to fill a vacancy.
In the race for town justice, Walter C. Cain defeated Matthew L. Smith, 89 percent to 11 percent. Cain will replace retiring Justice Daniel C. Kuligowski.
Darlene G. Schweikert was elected town clerk, running unopposed to fill a vacancy.
Voters approved two referendums: to increase the annual award contribution to the Volunteer Firefighters Service Award program and to change the entitlement age for benefits for the program to 60 years from 65 years.
Voters re-elected Town Justice Raymond N. Poliseno, and Peter M. Tarnawskyj was elected assessor, filling a vacancy. Both were unopposed.