Statewide propositions deal with debt

Oct. 31—There are two statewide propositions on this year's ballot that would amend the state constitution and deal with debt.

Proposition No. 1, an amendment, would remove the small city school districts in the state 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," the proposition said.

This proposition would affect the Oneonta City and Norwich City school districts, which are two of the 57 small city school districts in the state.

Oneonta School District Superintendent Tom Brindley said the proposition would give small city school districts the same debt allowed that rural and suburban districts have. The state constitution allows small city school district 5% debt, while rural and suburban districts can have 10% debt.

In a letter to Norwich residents, Norwich School District Superintendent Scott Ryan said, "Allowing small city school districts to have a ten percent debt limit would permit these school districts to conduct building planning and projects at the scale and scope necessary to efficiently and effectively make critically needed building upgrades and improvements in a timely and cost- effective manner. Should this vote in November be successful it would not have any impact on non-city school districts. Currently small city school directs due to their five percent (5%) debt limit have to address needed capital improvements for health and safety projects, HVAC improvements, roofing replacements, facility renovations and additions to address instructional and enrollment needs as well as changing State requirement, through a sequential series of smaller projects over a number of years in order to stay under the five percent debt limit cap. The proposed amendment to the State Constitution would eliminate this."

The last time the proposition was put in front of voters was 2003, and was rejected by 54.2%.

"I hope it passes," Brindley said.

Proposition No. 2, an amendment, would extend sewage project debt exclusion from the 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," the resolution said. This would extend the end of the debt limit from 2024 to 2034.

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at or 607-441-7221.