SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — When voters fill out their ballots in the 2023 election, they’ll find bubbles on the back for at least two propositions.
Every voter in New York State will be asked to choose “yes” or “no” on two proposals with wonky wording.
NewsChannel 9 asked the State Board of Elections and the League of Women Voters for help explaining what they mean.
PROPOSAL NUMBER ONE, AN AMENDMENT
REMOVAL OF SMALL CITY SCHOOL DISTRICTS FROM SPECIAL CONSTITUTIONAL DEBT LIMITATION
The proposed amendment to Article 8, section 4 of the Constitution removes the special constitutional debt limitation now placed on small city school districts, so they will be treated the same as all other school districts. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?
Explanation: This change to the State Constitution would allow school districts associated with small cities to borrow the same amount of money for capital projects as most other school districts. Currently, those districts have a stricter spending limit, which prohibits them from doing widespread renovations. Instead, these districts often spread out necessary renovations, sometimes becoming more expensive in the end.
This law considers a “small city” one with less than 125,000 people.
In Central and Northern New York, that includes the following districts:
- Auburn CSD
- Canandaigua CSD
- Cortland CSD
- Fulton CSD
- Geneva CSD
- Ithaca CSD
- Norwich CSD
- Oneida CSD
- Oswego CSD
- Rome CSD
- Utica CSD
- Vernon Verona Sherrill CSD
- Watertown CSD
PROPOSAL NUMBER TWO, AN AMENDMENT
EXTENDING SEWAGE PROJECT DEBT EXCLUSION FROM DEBT LIMIT
The proposed amendment to Article 8, section 5 of the Constitution extends for ten years the authority of counties, cities, towns, and villages to remove from their constitutional debt limits debt for the construction of sewage facilities. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?
Explanation: This allows municipalities to spend money related to sewer maintenance without it counting against the state-imposed debt limit.
Some voters might find additional propositions, including for the City of Syracuse.
CITY OF SYRACUSE PROPOSITION ONE
Shall the electors of the City approve the Local law entitled:
*Local Law – Of the City of Syracuse to amend Sections 5-503 entitled “Scope of Audits” and Section 5-505 entitled “Legal Counsel”, of the city Charter as detailed in the legislation.” Adopted by the 5yracuse Common Council on 4-10-23. Which Local Law will increase transparency and accountability between Governing bodies and the Citizens of Syracuse, by clarifying the scope of audits conducted by the City Auditor and, subject to Common Council approval, permitting the City Auditor to retain independent legal counsel?
Explanation: This allows the elected Auditor of the City of Syracuse to subpoena other city departments, including the Mayor’s Office, for documents related to a financial review. In some cases, seeking that subpoena may require the Auditor to hire its own independent lawyer, aside from the city’s normally retained corporation counsel.