Library budget votes in Riverhead, Baiting Hollow and SWR

04/03/2012 7:00 AM |


The public will vote on library budgets in Riverhead, Baiting Hollow and Shoreham-Wading River today.

In the Riverhead Free Library, the vote will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the grand meeting room.

Riverhead’s $3.3 million proposed budget would raise the tax levy by 1.98 percent and spending by 1.15 percent.

Because the library’s district covers three towns — Riverhead, Southampton and Brookhaven — tax rates for each town will not be known until later in the year, and the tax levy increase — the amount of taxes to be raised in the entire district — is all that’s available.

However, based on current tax rates, a home with a market value of about $329,380 in Riverhead Town would pay about $3 more a year in library taxes under a 1.98 percent increase, according to News-Review computations.

The proposed budget is under the state’s two-percent tax cap, according to library director Lisa Jacobs.

“It is possible to exceed the cap, but the board felt it was important to be under it,” she said.

There are no programs in the budget and no major cuts either, and employees have a contractual salary increase of 3 percent. The salary budget is up only 2.2 percent due to the use of part-time employees and flexible scheduling, Ms. Jacobs said.

“It’s an interesting time for libraries because it’s really a transitional time,” she said. “People are using the traditional media and yet there is all this new technology too, such as e-books. We’re still buying books, but we’re also buying e-books. We loan e-books.” (E-books are loaned through a digital license that only lasts a certain time.)

Any registered voter in the Riverhead School District can vote in both the Riverhead library vote and the Baiting Hollow Free Library vote, which takes place at the same time and place and is on the same ballot as the Riverhead vote.

The Baiting Hollow library budget is proposed to increase its usual $100 for the year, from $11,600 to $11,700.

In the case of both libraries, the April 3 vote is technically a vote on whether the Riverhead Central School District should contract for library services at the above mentioned budget amounts.

The North Shore Public Library, on the campus of Shoreham-Wading River High School, is proposing a budget that would increase the tax levy exactly 2 percent, from $3,329,332 to $3,395,966.

Library director Laura Hawrey could not be reached for comment but stated in a budget flyer, “The proposed budget will cost approximately seven dollars per year more than last year for the average household.”

As with Riverhead, tax rates are not available, because the North Shore library district encompasses parts of two towns, Riverhead and Brookhaven.

The North Shore library vote will take place from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the library.

Registered voters in the Shoreham-Wading River and Rocky Point school districts can vote in the North Shore Public Library budget vote.

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