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Legislator wants to use census results to downsize Albany County Legislature

Albany County Legislator Carl Zeilman, R, C, I-Colonie, has come up with a plan to decrease the Albany County Legislature: to use the 2010 Census results to create more accurate representation of the county's municipalities in the legislature.

He proposes to use the statistics gathered in the census to equally divide representation based on population counts in the county.

According to Zeilman, there are 39 members of the Legislature, serving over 290,000 county residents. Zeilman said the legislators make a salary of about $21,000 per year, as well as benefits, and that adds up to millions of dollars of taxpayer money.

Zeilman also said the Albany County Legislature is one of the largest in the region, many of which containing fewer than 20 members.

\With the economy effecting Albany County the way it is and with 2010 Census upon us, reducing the state's largest legislative body, the Albany County Legislature, from 39 members to 19 members just makes sense.

Zeilman said there are many ways the number of legislators could be reduced. For instance, to analyze which legislators have the most interaction with their constituents. Another is to have special elections to determine who should be representing the district.

"If it means pinning one of us against eachother in a primary race, so be it," he said.

Zeilman plans to submit a more detailed plan of how to trim the legislature to his colleagues in the upcoming months.

"I understand that the move to downsize the Albany County Legislature will be hard for some," he said. "But this is the right move and Albany County and its residents will be the beneficiaries in the end and that should always be our goal."

Read and react: To answer whether you think the Albany County Legislature is too big and what can be done to trim it, go to http://spotlightnews.com/blogs/acohn/view_blog.php?blog_id=1236097603

For more on this story, check back at www.spotlightnews.com, or read the Wednesday, March 11 print edition of the Colonie Spotlight.""

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