Nov. 2017 Column from Erie County Legislator John Mills

A question I have heard a lot recently is about the “vote no” signs seen throughout our community and what it means. I am glad to hear this question asked because the issue behind the signs is very important.

On this coming Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 7, voters will have a two-sided ballot. On the front side will be the contests for county, town and city races, depending on where you reside. On the reserve side will be three New York State referendums. Do not forget to flip over your ballot before casting your vote.

On the back is where you will find the “vote no” issue, which is regarding the New York State Constitutional Convention. Much has been said about this proposal and every voter has to decide for themselves how they wish to vote. The question voters are being asked on the ballot is: Should New York State convene a convention? NYS is required to pose the question to voters every 20 years.

You will have two other proposals to consider. Number two, if approved, would allow the complete or partial forfeiture of a public official’s pension if he or she is convicted of a certain type of felony.  I personally support this measure. It is a privilege to serve and those who abuse it should not be rewarded.

The third proposal authorizes the use of forest preserve land for specified purposes by creating a land account with up to 250 acres of forest preserve land eligible for use by towns, villages, and counties that have no viable alternative to using forest preserve land to address specific public health and safety concerns; as a substitute for the land removed from the forest preserve, another 250 acres of land, will be added to the forest preserve, subject to legislative approval. The proposed amendment also will allow bicycle trails and certain public utility lines to be located within the width of specified highways that cross the forest preserve while minimizing removal of trees and vegetation.

The three proposals are separate items and are a simple yes or no question. Again, how each person decides to vote is up to them, but it is important for voters to remember this year’s ballot is two-sided.

Polls will be open on Election Day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. If you don’t know where to vote, please visit or call 858-8891. Any other general questions can also be answered by visiting the website or by calling.

In another matter, the County’s Department of Senior Services is conducting its annual public hearings to gain input from the public on its services and programs. If you wish to comment, you can attend the final hearing, scheduled from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9 at the East Aurora Senior Center, 101 King St., East Aurora. For further information or to register to speak, please call 858-7532. Written comments are also welcome, send to 95 Franklin St., Room 1341, Buffalo, NY, 14202 or

If you have any questions or comments about a county issue, please contact me at 858-8850 or