The John Jermain Memorial Library’s $1,253,200 operating budget for 2012 received overwhelming support on Tuesday night, passing with 259 votes in favor of the spending plan, and 98 residents voting against it.
According to John Jermain Memorial Library (JJML) Director Catherine Creedon, it was the largest voter turnout for a budget vote and trustee election since she became the library’s director in 2007. Three hundred and eighty residents of the Sag Harbor School District voted at the library’s temporary home on West Water Street throughout the course of the day on Tuesday, compared with 246 votes in 2010. Since 2007, no more than just over 250 residents have turned out for a library budget vote.
“The huge positive here is the number of voters who came in and supported our budget,” said Creedon shortly after the results were announced. “It is a symbol of the kind of support we have at this library, even in this economy and will enable us to truly meet the needs of our community.”
While supportive of all four candidates vying for seats on the library board, on the eve of the library receiving its final approvals to begin construction on a restoration and expansion years in the making, Creedon was visibly somber when talking about the loss of Craig Rhodes as a library trustee come this January.
Rhodes, who has been with the library since just before it received almost $10 million funding, via a referendum vote, to restore and expand the library, was defeated by incumbent Jackie Brody, as well as newcomers Ann Lieber and Toby Spitz.
“It’s going to be tough,” said Creedon. “All of our candidates were good candidates with established commitments to this library. That said, Craig had the most personal experience with architecture and building as well as with the library board. He has been a mentor to all of us during this building project process, and last night, earning our final approvals we really saw the affects of his hard work come to fruition.”
Lieber received the most votes with 252, followed by Brody who earned 228. Spitz collected 184 votes, earning the last seat on the board. Rhodes trailed with 173 votes.
Rhodes was vying for the position as a write-in candidate after failing to turn his petition for candidacy on time – a mistake he chalked up to simply forgetting that his term was set to expire in January amidst the chaos of the building project’s permitting process.
“I plan on volunteering to work on the building project,” he said after the vote. “I obviously cannot see not being a part of this in some way.”
“It feels very good,” said Lieber of receiving the most votes. “I look forward with helping the library on its plans for the future. Everything has passed not and I think we can really look forward.”
The Hampton Library in Bridgehampton also had its $1.5 million budget for 2012 approved on Saturday. Incumbent trustees Elizabeth Kotz, the board’s president, Louise Collins, Tom House, Jackie Poole and Sara Jaffe Turnbull were also re-elected to their seats.