With only a week until John Jermain Memorial Library’s (JJML) annual budget vote and trustee election, its board of trustees held a public hearing and candidate forum on Wednesday, September 19.
The JJML Library Board is seeking $2,158,915 for 2013. Of that, $1,253,915 is allocated for operating expenses and $905,000 is for debt service for the library’s restoration and expansion project.
The operating budget is up $59,312 from $1,194,603 in 2012. However, this means that the average homeowner in the Sag Harbor Union Free School District will be taxed an additional five dollars.
New digital resources, as well as an increase in the cost of books and other materials are among the chief reasons for the budget increase, according to JJML Director Catherine Creedon. There are also rising costs of utilities and day-to-day operations as well as higher premiums for health and unemployment insurance, she said.
The need for climate-controlled storage for rare local materials and artifacts, as well as additional programming for families and seniors, has also contributed to the increase.
Creedon noted the library’s 2013 budget falls within the two-percent tax cap mandated by New York State.
“We will almost certainly need to exceed that cap next year,” Creedon warned.
In order to offset the anticipated increase in operating costs, the library is actively seeking donations and grants from outside organizations.
The budget vote and trustee election will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 27 at the library, which is temporarily located on Long Island Avenue.
Current trustee Michael Garabedian, a lawyer, is running for re-election. Architect and former board member Craig Rhodes is also seeking the seat currently occupied by President Chris Leonard, who has reached his limit of two consecutive three-year terms.
If elected, Garabedian and Rhodes will each serve a three-year term, beginning on January 1, 2013 and ending on December 31, 2015.