MASSENA, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Massena library wants to turn a new page on how it’s supported. But in three towns, many people hope a June 9 vote will be the end of that story.
Signs are sprouting around the north end of St. Lawrence County. They're opposed to a move to have outlying towns contribute more to support the Massena Public Library.
“That's going to mean that my tax is going to be approximately $200 where it was $9 previous to that. So over a 20-fold increase,” said Charles McGrath, Louisville resident.
Louisville currently pays a small tax, raising $9,000 per year for the library. A proposed new tax would raise $154,000 there. Parts of Norfolk and Brasher are also being asked to contribute.
“The library board of directors determined that this is the best way to ensure funding for the library, stable funding for the library,” said Elaine Dunne, Massena Public Library director.
Right now, the town of Massena pays the bulk of the library's bills. A proposition on the Massena school's budget ballot would broaden that support to all taxpayers in the school district.
“We really need to see if the rest of the community that uses the library will help fund the library,” said Dunne.
In Norfolk and Brasher, the tax would be entirely new. One small part of Norfolk would end up paying taxes on both its own Hepburn Library and the Massena library.
“The biggest problem in New York state is the local property taxes and that's what's causing the exodus from here," said McGrath. "It's not good for the local economy. It's not good for our senior citizens. It's not good for business.”
Town of Massena taxpayers could get a tax cut under the proposal.
Voting on the library proposition is not going on in the usual way. Instead, it's all being done by absentee ballot. And it's going on right now.
Ballots must be received by the school district by June 9.
If voters approve the proposition, it may not be the end of the story. The Brasher, Norfolk and Louisville town boards have hired an attorney to look into the legality of the library proposition.