Voters To Weigh In On Two Ballot Proposals

This year, Election Day is scheduled for Tuesday, November 7, 2023.

On Election Day, New York voters will elect candidates to various county and municipal offices. In addition, two proposed amendments to the New York State Constitution will appear on the back of the ballot.

Proposal Number One deals with borrowing limits for New York school districts located in small cities. (Under Article VIII, Section 4 of the New York State Constitution, a small city is defined as a city with fewer than 125,000 inhabitants. According to Gothamist.com, 57 cities would be affected by this proposal.) Currently, the New York State Constitution bars school districts in small cities from borrowing amounts in excess of five percent of the collective value of taxable real property within their districts. Small city school districts wishing to borrow amounts that exceed that limit can only do so with the approval of 60% of the voters in their districts, as well as the approval of the Board of Regents and the New York State Comptroller. However, the Constitution does not set limits for other school districts’ borrowing. Instead, state law limits school districts not located in small cities from borrowing amounts exceeding 10 percent of the collective value of taxable real property within their districts. Proposal Number One would remove the 5% borrowing limit for small city school districts, letting such districts borrow just as much money as other school districts are allowed to borrow.

Gothamist.com describes Proposal Number Two as “a routine, once-a-decade extension focused on sewage treatment facilities.” Article VIII, Section Five of the state constitution places limits on how much money each county and municipality may borrow. However, these constitutional debt limits contain an exception for the construction of sewage treatment facilities. As Gothamist.com explains, “if a city has to borrow to repair a sewage treatment plant or even build a new one, that doesn’t count against their debt limit — so long as they get approval from the state comptroller.” This exception is scheduled to expire on January 1, 2024. Proposal Number Two would extend the sewer debt exception until January 1, 2034.

Early voting will be available from Saturday, October 28 through Sunday, November 5.

For more information on this year’s ballot proposals, please click here. For more information on the 2023 elections, please visit the website of the New York State Board of Elections or contact the board of elections in your county.

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