In two weeks, two referendums will be held in Ramapo, and their outcome can change the size and makeup of the Town Board.
In case you’re wondering what this is all about, below is the brief summery of the two referendums set for Sept. 30.
The first of the two propositions is to ask voters whether to increase the number of Town Board members from four to six.
The second is to ask voters whether to separate the town into geographical districts — or “wards” — to elect a Town Board member from each district. Currently, four Town Board members are elected at large and don’t represent specific areas of the town.
Supporters of the change say the new system would better represent the needs of Ramapo’s diverse populations, creating a more robust opposition to the current administration.
Absentee ballot applications are available at Ramapo Town Hall or by clicking here: RamapoAbsentee. This application must either be personally delivered to the Town Clerk’s Office no later than the day before the election (Sept.29), or postmarked no later than Sept. 23.
Voters can cast their ballots at their general election polling sites from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 30.
Fore more information, visit the website, www.vote6wards.org.
Local activists Robert Romanowski and Michael Parietti had filed petitions to force the town to hold the referendums. They said a ward system will make Town Board members answer directly to the voters who they represent. They see the measure as a way to counter the political influence of Ramapo’s growing Orthodox community that has supported Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and his all-Democratic board.
Ramapo’s elected officials didn’t express their opinions on a ward system, saying that they wanted to let the voters decide. But they all said increasing the number of Town Board members would be a bad idea because it would cost the town more money.
Parietti countered, saying that a seven-member board can reduce tax hikes because it’ll require five votes to override the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap. Currently, three votes are sufficient to override the cap.
Photos: Robert Romanowski and Michael Parietti