Casino amendment passes in NY, but fails in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 November 2013 at 12:00 am

New York voters approved an amendment to the state Constitution on Tuesday, allowing seven new resort-style casinos to be built off Indian-owned land.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed for the casino expansion, saying it would bring jobs and much-needed tourism money to the state, particularly four upstate locations. A new casino won’t be in Western New York as part of a compact with the Seneca Nation of Indians.

Most counties backed the casino expansion, but Orleans said no, with 3,226 voters opposing the amendment and 2,922 in favor of it.

The governor was pleased with the state-wide vote on the issue. He made this statement late Tuesday.

“This vote will keep hundreds of millions of dollars spent each year in neighboring states right here in New York while increasing revenue for local schools, lowering property tax taxes and bringing proper regulation to the industry,” he said.

There were six state-wide proposals before voters on Tuesday. One of them, a proposal to raise the allowable retirement age for judges to 80, was rejected. It failed in Orleans by a 1,735 to 4,016 vote.

Other proposals passed voter approval, including in Orleans County.

New Yorkers OK’d a long-standing constitutional element that allows municipalities to exclude the cost of sewer projects from their mandated debt limits, which encourages improvements to the state’s crumbling infrastructure. In Orleans, it passed 2,880 to 2,597.

Two land issues in the Adirondack Forest Preserve were also on the ballot. Proposal 4 authorizes the state to arrange a land swap to settle century-old property disputes between NY and about 180 private landowners. It won overwhelming support state-wide. It passed in Orleans with a 3,472 to 1,966 vote.

Another proposal was ahead in votes state-wide. It will allow NYCO Minerals the chance to expand by 200 acres at its wollastonite mine in Essex County. In exchange it will give 1,500 acres of land for inclusion in the forest preserve. The issue passed in Orleans by a 2,872 to 2,548 vote.

A proposal to provide an additional credit on civil service exams for disabled combat veterans was heartily endorsed state-wide and in Orleans County.

The state Constitution only allows a veteran to receive additional civil service credit once. The proposition on the ballot Tuesday will allow a veteran to receive additional service credit based upon the newly certified disability. Orleans voters supported it 4,580 to 1,268.