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Albany County district lines to move

"At the Coeymans meeting we heard that they'd like to see that district [36] make up pretty much all of Coeymans," he said. "We're going to see if we can logically manage the district so that it works."

Cotrofeld's own district, 34, is considered to be very near the ideal size, but the adjoining 35th district, represented by Charles Dawson, D-Glenmont, has greatly increased in population. It is likely the boundaries in this area will move.

The Town of Bethlehem had a relatively large population shift, growing 7 percent since the 2000 census to 33,656 people.

Unlike efforts on the Congressional level, the countywide redistricting will not mean a change in the number of seats on the Legislature. Of the meager public comment, some has centered on the size of this body, and restructuring county government completely is something of a perennial topic for those arguing for lower taxes and efficiencies.

Legislators draw an annual salary of $21,752, and party leaders and the chairman get more.

But changing the composition of the Legislature is not the commission's goal, said Morse.

"At this point, it would be up to the County Legislature to decide if they want to reduce the size of government," which would require a charter change and likely take many months, he said.

Morse added he usually hears the size complaint from those with an ax to grind.

"There are those who say that. Unfortunately they don't say it with any sort of data, they just say it to say it," he said. "It seems more politically motivated to me than anything."

The commission wants to have a recommendation prepared for the Legislature in the first week of May, if at all possible. The first day candidates for office can start gathering petition signatures to appear on the ballot is June 7, so to have the new boundaries used in the upcoming race the Legislature must ratify any changes before then.

That's important, said Cotrofeld, "so people who are running this year don't have to go out and run again next year in a slightly different district."

The commission's schedule calls for eight public meetings to be held in all. The next is on Saturday, April 23 at 1 p.m. the county offices, 112 State Street in Albany. There is also the possibility another hearing will be set for April 28, and comments can be submitted in writing to redistricting@albanycounty.com.""

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