Ogdensburg library’s future depends on outcome of vote, officials say

WWNY Ogdensburg library’s future depends on outcome of vote, officials say

OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - Will it be the end of the Ogdensburg Public Library? Officials there say it could be - depending on the outcome of a referendum.

The city of Ogdensburg once supported the library with more than half a million dollars. A five-year phase out of that funding means next year the library gets nothing.

“We’ve cut back on hours. We’ve cut back on staff. We’ve lost our central library status, which is what bought most of our non-fiction materials,” said Penny Kerfien, Ogdensburg Library executive director.

So it’s up to school district voters once again to make up some of the difference. But library officials say the stakes are higher this time.

Kerfien says a no vote would mean “the library closes in two years...There’s no money; $125,000 is not going to keep this building open.”

That’s how much school district voters approved in total in two previous votes. On May 18, the library will be asking for $225,000 more.

The library has gone to voters for financial support three times before. So far, they’ve racked up a record of two wins and one loss.

Even with a ‘yes’ vote this time, taxpayer support would be almost $200,000 less than it was just five years ago. The city had intended to cut off support this year.

“We came to … an understanding that it would be very detrimental. They weren’t prepared to take it over this year. So we extended it a year,” said Mike Skelly, Ogdensburg mayor.

A victory for the referendum would hike the tax bill $58 for an Ogdensburg or Oswegatchie home assessed at $65,000. In Lisbon it would be about $75 for a home assessed the same.

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