Voters Approve Million Dollar Library Budget

Posted on 24 September 2009

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Voters on Tuesday night approved spending $1,038,150 for the budget of the John Jermain Memorial Library, 225-29. The taxpayer funds from residents within the Sag Harbor School District will go toward the total $1,068,800 the library expects to spend this year, the balance coming from sources such as contributions and grants.

Voters also elected incumbent Chris Leonard to the library’s board of trustees, along with first-timer Michael Garabedian. Leonard received 206 votes, Garabedian 200.

“I am very flattered to have been given the opportunity to run as a candidate for the board of trustees of John Jermain Memorial Library,” said Garabedian during a trustees meeting last week.

On the proposed renovation of the historic library building he said: “We have to take that which works historically and move into the future because we always have to keep an eye on it.”

At the same meeting Leonard said: “I think we have made great progress in hiring an inspirational and professional director and also in passing a referendum that had great community support.”

The budget represents a 4.9 percent increase over last year, much of which is attributable to increases in the cost of health insurance and materials. The increase also, in part, makes up for the second year of 10 percent cuts in aid from New York State. In addition, the library has needed to add staff to keep up with demand. Library director Cathy Creedon said circulation is up over 30 percent  from levels two years ago.

The total votes cast — 254 — were significantly higher than last year’s 206. Creedon attributes the increase to increased public outreach she and the board are committed to, and she noted that people seem to be “more interested in libraries.”

She also credited the library staff, and said the fact the library is “just busier” added to people’s awareness of the vote.

Earlier this year the library passed a $9 million referendum to do a restoration and addition of the building. That has taken some pressure off the maintenance budget line, said Creedon, which has partly been used to address structural problems. In the 2009 budget that line was $86,400; for the coming year it will be $66,790.

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