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Move to downsize County Legislature rejected by voters

Dutchess county — The Republican-led Dutchess County Legislature failed in its quest to shrink its size from 25 to 21 in the Nov. 2 elections, with 67.67% of voters rejecting the measure and only 32.33% of voters supporting the idea. A total of 37,095 votes were cast against the proposal versus 17,724 in favor, according to unofficial results from the Dutchess County Board of Elections as of Monday, Nov. 15.

Fifteen Republican legislators voted in July to downsize the governmental body, claiming the county’s population of 295,911 doesn’t merit such a large Legislature; 10 Democrats voted against it.

Proposal Number Six sought to amend a local law known as Article II of the Dutchess County Charter. The last time Dutchess County’s Legislative Branch was reduced was about 20 years ago, from 35 to 25 legislators.

Chairman of the Dutchess County Legislature Gregg Pulver (R-19) of Pine Plains said he wasn’t surprised Prop. No. 6 didn’t pass.

“I was expecting it. Sure, it would have been nice to have it pass. It had merit, but it’s not the end of the world. We presented it; there was a lot of publicity about it,” he said, adding many voters turned over their ballots but didn’t go line item by line item through the propositions. “I think part of the problem, there were so many problems with some of the other propositions on back of ballot. But we’re satisfied; people spoke and we’ll move on.”

When asked if the Legislature plans to revisit the issue, Pulver said if so, it won’t be for a while.

“If we revisit, it will be in 10 years, I think,” he said. “It only makes sense to do it when we’re redistricting. You never know in politics. I don’t think I’ll bring it back up again.”

Pulver, who was re-elected to his fifth term in office and plans to re-run for the chairmanship, added, “Overall, we’re happy with elections no matter what. This would have been the icing on the cake, but there is still plenty of cake out there.”

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