Massena library wants to spread support among nearby towns

Massena library wants to spread support among nearby towns

MASSENA, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Massena Public Library wants to turn a page. It wants all property taxpayers in the Massena School District to support it.

That would spread the burden from Massena into parts of neighboring towns.

"We've always had broad support from our patronage," library director Elaine Dunne said. "They like this library, they use the library, but now we're asking people to help financially."

Right now, the town of Massena gives the library about $600,000 annually. The library wants to replace that support with a school district library tax.

That means taxpayers in parts of Brasher, Norfolk and Louisville also would pay it. It would be between $102 and $111 per year for a home assessed at $100,000 in those communities.

"It's important that library funding is solidified," Dunne said. "The only way to do that now is through the school library district initiative."

In Brasher and Norfolk, the tax would be brand new. In Louisville, it would replace a small library tax that currently supports the Massena library. Taxpayers in Massena would get a tax cut from the town.

"If we can save the taxpayers of Massena some money by, you know, lowering taxes, that's the way to go," Massena town supervisor Steve O'Shaughnessy said.

The library would like school district voters to approve $700,000 in annual funding for the library.

There's another wrinkle to this. People who live in the Massena School District here in the town of Norfolk could end up paying a double tax for library service.

Town of Norfolk taxpayers already chip in $110,000 annually for the Hepburn Library in Norfolk. The Massena library says it's looking for ways to avoid double-taxing people.

"Hoping we can come to some agreeable solution," Dunne said, "either by we don't tax those people or there is some type of refund mechanism in place.”

The library plans to ask the Massena school board to put the voter initiative on the ballot. School district voters would go to the ballot box in May or June.

Copyright 2019 WWNY. All rights reserved.