New York Municipal Debt Limit Exemption for Sewage Improvements Amendment, Proposal 3 (2013)

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Proposal 3
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Article VIII, Section 5
Referred by:New York Legislature
Status:Approved Approveda

The New York Municipal Debt Limit Exemption for Sewage Improvements Amendment, Proposal 3, was on the November 5, 2013 ballot in New York as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. It was approved.

The measure allowed municipalities to exclude from their constitutional debt limits indebtedness, resulting from the construction or maintenance of sewer facilities, for an additional ten years.[1]

State Senator Jack Martins (R-7) sponsored the measure in the state legislature as Senate Bill 4065.[2]

At the time of Proposal 3's passage, the state constitution provided that municipal indebtedness resulting from the construction or maintenance of sewer facilities could excluded from the constitutional debt limits of those municipalities for ten years. Originally implemented in 1962, the provision was renewed every decade since. With the approval of Proposal 3, the provision was extended until January 1, 2024.[3]

Election results

Below are the official election results:

Proposal 3
Approveda Yes 1,497,865 62.27%
These results are from the New York Board of Elections.

Text of measure

New York Constitution
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Ballot summary

The official ballot text read as follows:[3]

Exclusion of Indebtedness Contracted for Sewage Facilities

The proposed amendment to Article 8, section 5 of the Constitution would extend for ten years, until January 1, 2024, the authority of counties, cities, towns, and villages to exclude from their constitutional debt limits indebtedness contracted for the construction or reconstruction of sewage facilities. Shall the proposed amendment be approved? [4]

Constitutional changes

Proposal 3 amended Article VIII, Section 5, subsection (E) of the Constitution of New York to read:[5]

E. Indebtedness contracted on or after January first, nineteen hundred sixty-two and prior to January first, two thousand fourteen twenty-four, for the construction or reconstruction of facilities for the conveyance, treatment and disposal of sewage. The legislature shall prescribe the method by which and the terms and conditions under which the amount of any such indebtedness to be excluded shall be determined, and no such indebtedness shall be excluded except in accordance with such determination.


The measure was sponsored by State Senator Jack Martins (R-7) and was approved unanimously by the New York Legislature in 2013.[5]



  • League of Women Voters listed the following supporting argument: "Concerns addressed in 1963 and by subsequent extensions of the amendment are still valid today. Although many pollution problems have been abated, new technologies allow for more efficient systems, development requires the construction of new systems and existing treatment plants age, requiring repair and reconstruction. The measure would allow municipalities to address sewage needs without impairing their ability to finance other needs."[8]


The League of Women Voters noted that they could not find any opponents or opposing arguments.[8]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of New York ballot measures, 2013


  • Adirondack Daily Enterprise said, "Vote yes to Proposal 3, which would continue letting municipalities exclude sewer system rebuilding costs from their constitutional debt limits... Sewer systems are essential, and no one wants them to fail."[9]
  • Albany Times Union said, “Proposal 3 would give municipalities until 2024 to upgrade. A Hudson River that's periodically inundated with sewage needs people to vote "yes" on this amendment.”[10]
  • Livingston County News said, “A vote yes will assure New Yorkers that we will maintain our commitment to clean water and sewage free rivers.”[11]
  • New York Times said, "And another would sensibly extend to 2024 the ability of communities to exclude the debt incurred on the construction of sewers from their constitutional debt limits."[12]
  • The Observer said, “The proposition is a sign that state officials realize many areas throughout the state have significant sewer work that needs to be undertaken - including Chautauqua County - and that having that work count against the constitutional taxing limits would hinder sewer projects from being completed.”[13]
  • Post Star said, “We recommend a yes vote on Prop. 3, on the grounds that, with the state tax cap in force and revenues depressed statewide, municipalities would be unable to bear any extra pressure on their budgets.”[14]
  • Watertown Daily Times said, "This amendment has worked well since 1962 and needs to be extended for another 10 years. A vote yes will assure New Yorkers that we will maintain our commitment to clean water and sewage free rivers."[15]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the New York Constitution

According to the New York Constitution, a majority vote is required in two successive sessions of the New York State Legislature in order to qualify an amendment for the statewide ballot.

Proposal 3 was referred to the ballot after being approved by both houses in successive terms by simple majority. S4065 was approved for a second time by the New York State Senate on May 22, 2013.[16] S4065 was approved for a second time by the New York State Assembly on June 13, 2013, respectively.[5]

Senate vote

May 22, 2013 Senate vote

New York Proposal 3, S4065 Senate Vote
Approveda Yes 61 100.00%

Assembly vote

June 13, 2013 Assembly vote

New York Proposal 3, S4065 Assembly Vote
Approveda Yes 141 100.00%

See also

Suggest a link

External links