Massena library vote on June ballot

The vote to determine if the Massena Public Library remains funded by the town or becomes a school district public library will now be a proposition when school district residents vote on the school budget on June 9. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — The vote to determine whether the Massena Public Library will remain funded by the town or become a school district public library will now be a proposition when school district residents vote on the school budget on June 9.

The vote was originally scheduled for June 16, a month after voters had gone to the polls to cast their ballots on the school budget and elect board of education members.

Now, with the coronavirus pandemic altering schedules, all voting is scheduled for June 9. That means district residents will be voting on the school budget, electing school board members, voting on the library proposition and electing library trustees. The library proposition will be on the reverse side of the ballot.

The Massena Central School District has a form for candidates to self-nominate for the board of education and library trustee seats. Those are due to District Clerk Candace Prairie by May 11.

“(Our vote) was supposed to be later on. Because of the governor’s executive order, everything has to be June 9. The library is now going to be on the school district ballot,” library Director Elaine Dunne said.”I really would like to encourage people to not forget the library piece of the vote.”

Under the proposal, the tax would be spread among residents in the towns of Massena and Louisville and portions of Brasher and Norfolk who live in the Massena Central School District’s boundaries. The library would be independent of the school district.

If approved, the owner of property assessed at $50,000 in Brasher would pay a $55 library district tax, while the owner of property assessed at $50,000 in Louisville would pay $51. Norfolk residents with property assessed at $50,000 would pay $54, and town of Massena residents with a $50,000 assessment would pay $44.

The amount to be levied would be $14,476 in Brasher, $153,302 in Louisville and $488,946 in the town of Massena.

The Massena Town Council has pledged to remove the library tax from its budget, bringing a savings to town of Massena taxpayers. The tax would instead be collected by the school district and turned over to an elected library board of trustees.

Although the library has not been open since the pandemic hit, Ms. Dunne said they’ve continued to serve the community.

“The library had to pivot very quickly to still serve our patrons. We’re not only serving through our online resources, we’re also preparing for our return. The services are still there,” she said.

When the library reopens, she said it will likely be curbside service as they were providing before they closed their doors, and home deliveries if necessary.

“We’re really determined to serve our community as we should be. We will adapt to new ways to do what we do best,” Ms. Dunne said.

If the proposition is approved, she said the funding would allow them to maintain the library services that patrons are currently enjoying.

“It’s just to maintain what we already have,” she said.

That will include a summer reading program, which will be held this year, but likely in a different format for some activities. Ms. Dunne said that’s important because the program encourages reading over the summer so students maintain their reading skills.

“The summer slide has gotten very long now because they’ve been out since March,” she said.

She encouraged individuals to check out the library’s Facebook page for the latest information.

“The library is still there for the community,” she said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(1) comment


Who lives in a $50,000 property? Another easy fix, raise taxes.. people leave, solution raise taxes, more people leave...

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