Why is The Public Health and Safety Land Account Needed?

Real Life Reasons Why Voting Yes for Ballot Proposal #3 is So Important

Successful passage of Ballot Proposal #3, the Public Health and Safety Land Account, on the New York State ballot will allow communities in the Adirondacks and Catskills to make common-sense infrastructure upgrades to improve public safety and health without having to go through a prolonged and costly constitutional amendment process each time. Here’s a look at some ways Ballot Proposal #3 will — or could have — helped: 

• When the Town of Fine in St. Lawrence County, NY, began preparing to upgrade its water lines, it discovered that a water main installed in the 1950s mistakenly runs across a small area of New York State Forest Preserve land. Because of this, the town is prohibited from making upgrades to this portion of the line. Successful passage of Ballot Proposal #3 would allow these upgrades to take place.

• The Towns of Chester and Horicon in Warren County would like to relocate a bridge over the Schroon River approximately 2.5 miles from its current location to improve emergency response to an important tourist resort and a number of local residences. The new bridge would shave more than five miles and approximately 10 minutes off the response time. It would also result in lower road maintenance costs for the towns and reduced transportation times for the local school district. Because the new bridge would extend onto a small portion of state Forest Preserve land, however, this proposed project has been on hold for seven years. If Ballot Proposal #3 is approved, this small area of land — less than two-tenths of an acre — can be removed from the Preserve and replaced with land from the 250-acre Public Health & Safety Land Account, allowing the project to go forward in a timely manner. Warren County would also be required to pay the state fair market value for the land or give the state a piece of land of comparable size and value.

• The Development Authority of the North Country recently installed fiber optic cable to provide advanced communications between two rural health centers in Ray Brook and Lake Placid, improving patient care and safety. Because the road between the centers runs through the state Forest Preserve, the cable had to be placed beneath a recreational railroad line that is also used as a snowmobile trail — making winter-time repairs, under feet of snow, extremely complicated. Had Ballot Proposal #3 been passed earlier, the fiber optics could have been run under the much more accessible public road.

• Hamilton County recently installed three miles of fiber optic cable along a state road to connect two local 911 dispatch centers and provide a critically important communications back-up in the event of a telephone outage. Because the road runs through the state Forest Preserve, however, New York State allows the fiber optics to be used only for emergency communications purposes, not to provide a backup for the local phone system in general. Had Ballot Proposal #3 been passed earlier, this common-sense improvement to the entire phone system would have been possible. 

• The county-owned road leading to popular Adirondack recreation destination Piseco Lake is heavily traveled by cars, bicycles and pedestrians. To improve public safety, Hamilton County widened the shoulder of the road, and worked with the local utility to move the power poles along the road farther back. Just one problem: This meant that the anchors securing the poles had to sit on state Forest Preserve land — and this is not allowed. The poles had to be returned to their original location. Had Ballot Proposal #3 been approved earlier, this would not have happened.

If you want to help Adirondack and Catskill communities become safer for residents and visitors alike, we ask that you please Vote Yes for Ballot Proposal #3, the Public Health and Safety Land Account, on the New York State ballot.