Know before you go!

Six referendums to appear on Tuesday, November 5 ballot

BY KATHY KAHN

On Tuesday, November 5, you won’t just be voting for State and County officials, local supervisors or council members—you’ll also be asked to vote on six separate referendums to change the State’s Constitution. Before you step into the voting booth, here’s a summary of the Propositions you’ll find on the ballot:

Proposition 1-Authorizing Casino Gaming

To amend Section 5, Article 1 to allow the Legislature to authorize up to seven casinos for the legislated purpose of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated.

(Currently, casino gambling has been limited in the state to electronic gaming tables. The proposition allows for standard table games. Four casinos will initially receive approval, distributed between the Catskill Region, the Capital Region and the Southern Tier; three more casinos will be authorized five years after the initial four sites are selected and approved by the New York State Gaming Commission.)

Proposition 2-Additional Civil Service Credit for Veterans with Disabilities Certified Post Appointment

To amend Section 6, Article 5 to grant additional civil service credit to veterans who are certified as disabled after they have been appointed or promoted to a civil service position.

(Currently, veterans are allowed five extra points on an initial civil service exam and 2 ½ points on a subsequent exam or appointment/promotion. The proposition would amend the Constitution to allow veterans who are certified disabled after having already received credit at one appointment or promotion to receive additional credit one more time after they are certified disabled. The total of 7 ½ points would be increased to a total of ten if the referendum is passed.)

Proposition 3-Exclusion of Indebtedness Contracted for Sewage Facilities

To amend Section 8, Article 14 to allow counties, cities, towns and villages to exclude from their constitutional debt limits indebtedness incurred for the construction or reconstruction of sewage facilities.

(Currently, the State’s Constitution provides exclusion of debt limits indebtedness until January 1, 2014. Proposition 3 approval would extend that exclusion for a period for ten years, up to January 1, 2024.)

Proposition 4-Settling Disputed Title in the (State) Forest Preserve

To amend Section 1, Article 14 of the Constitution to resolve competing claims of title between the State and private parties to land located in the forest preserve in the town of Long Lake, Hamilton County.

(Currently, the Constitution generally forbids the lease, sale, exchange or taking of any forest preserve land. Proposition 4 approval would settle 100-year-old disputes between the state and private parties by giving up State’s claim to disputed parcels. In exchange, the state would get land to be incorporated into the forest preserve, but only if the Legislature determines the land to be conveyed would benefit the forest preserve more than the disputed parcels do.)

Proposition 5-In Relation to a Land Exchange in the State Forest Preserve with NYCO Minerals, Inc.

To amend Section 1, Article 14 to allow NYCO Minerals, Inc., a private company, to continue mining operations in the town of Lewis, Essex County. The Proposition, if passed, allows the state to convey approximately 200 acres of forest preserve acres to NYCO for mining; NYCO, in turn, would give the state the same amount of land with same value, with a minimum assessed value of $1 million, said land to be conveyed to the Forest Preserve.

(Currently, NYCO Minerals has been mining in Lewis, Essex County, for several years. If approved, the amendment would allow NYCO to test quantity and quality of mineral to be mind on the land to be exchanged before the exchange occurs. The amendment also requires that, if after NYCO completes testing it does not want the Forest Preserve land, it would give the state the same amount of land of at least the same value of the land disturbed by the testing, with the land then incorporated back into the Forest Preserve.)

Proposition 6-Increasing the Age until which Certain State Judges Can Serve

To amend Sections 2 and 25, Article 6 to increase the age of 80 as the maximum age until which the Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of the Court of Appeals may serve until the age of 80 if it is determined their services are necessary and if they are found competent to continue.

(Currently, Justices of the Supreme Court are required to retire in the year they turn 70 years old. Under the proposition, they would be eligible to continue to perform duties of a Justice of the Supreme Court for three additional two-year terms upon a certification that their services are needed and they are competent to perform the full duties of office.

Judges of the Court of Appeals are currently required to retire when they turn 70 years old. Under the proposition, they also would be eligible to continue to perform duties of a Justice of the Court of Appeals for an additional ten years in order to complete the term to which that Judge was appointed.)