On Election Day this Nov. 7, New Yorkers will be asked to vote on two statewide constitutional amendments.
They both have to do with debt and in that regard, they are not all that exciting; however, they are very important to their constituencies. Amendment number 1 would allow small city school districts to carry more debt.
“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?” the amendment states.
Troy City School District Superintendent John Carmello spoke with Capital Tonight about why the amendment is critical to schools like his.
“Small city school districts can only borrow up to 5% of their debt limit when all other school districts can do 10%,” Carmello explained.
There are 57 small city school districts that may not borrow beyond 5% of their total property wealth. The amendment, if passed, would allow them to operate at 10%, which is the same limit on indebtedness as all their rural and suburban counterparts.
According to Carmello, the hike in the debt limit would be especially helpful for older districts like his which have aging infrastructure.
“Many of us have very old buildings. Our buildings range in age from 70 to 100 years old. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, and being restricted to that 5% is a real hardship,” he said.
Ballot question 2 “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."