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September 5, 2013

Referendums, Lafarge draw reaction

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — There’s one thing a pair of referendums and the proposed Lafarge expansion have in common. In each case, some in the Town of Lockport have something to say about it. 

Both issues came up at a Town Board meeting Wednesday night. It was started off by Paul Black, a Town Board candidate who came to the meeting to officially turn in the pair of petitions asking for referendums to appear on the November ballot.

The first referendum asks residents if the town should be divided into four wards, like many cities including the city of Lockport. Residents in a particular ward would elect a town board member from among those who live within the ward.

Black’s second referendum asks voters to consider a set of public meeting bylaws. The referendum would move all meetings, regular and work sessions, to evening hours. And anything requiring a board vote would take place at the regular meeting, not the work session.

The referendum would also limit any punitive measures by the Town Board. It also calls for delaying board votes on all matters in which the public expresses an objection, at least until the board reconsiders the matter and makes a public explanation regarding the objection.

Black claimed the referendums would improve representation and the board’s interaction with the public. Over 400 signatures were collected by Black, more than the required 322 needed, or 5 percent of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election in 2010.

“The people want change,” Black declared.

The referendums will be reviewed by Town Attorney Michael J. Norris. No Town Board action is required in order to have the referendums put on the ballot.

Black also submitted a petition with 164 signatures opposing the construction of traffic medians on South Transit Road. The medians would run from Robinson Road north to the city line, divided into five sections, covering 887 of the 6,850 feet there would be medians. The medians would include landscaping, trees, flower beds, signs and lighting, all to improve the aesthetics of the South Transit Road corridor for current and future development, town officials said.

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