Next Tuesday, voters have the opportunity to amend the state Constitution. Six proposals are on the ballot including casinos and the Adirondack Land Swap. Below is a look at what you will see on the ballot on November 5. The Business Council supports “yes” votes on Proposals 1 & 5.
Proposal 1 – Casinos
This will allow the opening of up to seven Las Vegas style gambling casinos, with four initially set for the Albany-Saratoga region, the Southern Tier and the Catskills. None would be permitted in New York City or anywhere near the five Indian tribe casinos that now operate in New York. Passing this amendment will lead to jobs creation and produce more tax revenue for schools and state and local governments.
Proposal 5 – Adirondack Land Swap
This amendment will will allow NYCO Minerals, Inc., a private company, to expand its wollastonite mining operations in the town of Lewis, Essex County, by giving approximately 200 forest preserve acres to NYCO Minerals for mining. NYCO Minerals would give the State at least the same amount of land of at least the same value, with a minimum assessed value of $1 million, for addition to the forest preserve. When NYCO Minerals finishes mining, the company would restore the condition of the land and return it to the forest preserve. The land swap will keep jobs in a region of the state had has seen businesses disappear as traditional industries such as logging and mining have shut down due to land use and environmental restrictions. The present mine is expected to be played out in three to four years. If it the mineral deposit in adjacent state land is mined, it will add an additional eight to 10 years to the mine’s productive span. Wollastonite is a mineral used in fire-proofing applications.
Other proposals on ballot:
Proposal 2 – Civil Service Credits for Vets
This will grant additional civil service credit to veterans who are certified as disabled after they have been appointed or promoted to a civil service position.
Proposal 3 – Sewer Debt
Proposal 3 will continue to allow counties, cities, towns, and villages to exclude from their constitutional debt limits indebtedness incurred for the construction or reconstruction of sewage facilities. Debt incurred from 1962-2014 is now excluded, and the amendment would extend that exclusion to 2024.
Proposal 4 – Property title dispute in the Adirondacks
This will resolve competing claims of title between the State and private parties to land located in the Adirondack Park, in the Township 40 tract in Long Lake and Raquette Lake, Hamilton County. Township 40 was one of the parcels created in the 18th century when the region was first surveyed. The amendment seeks to fix 100 year old property ownership disputes in the Adirondacks stemming from disputed tax sales, surveying, record-keeping and other factors. Homes, businesses, public buildings and are among the 216 properties with unclear titles on more than 1,000 acres that are on record as state park land and would be given clean titles if this passes.
Proposal 6 – Letting judges serve until age 80
Judges in the county-level State Supreme Court and the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, will be permitted to serve until they turn 80 years old. Currently, they must retire at age 70.