Massena Public Library Director Elaine Dunne talks to Louisville residents about a proposal to transition to a school district public library The vote will be held from noon to 8 p.m. June 16 at the library. Bob Beckstead/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — A vote to determine if the Massena Public Library remains owned by the town of Massena or becomes a school district public library is scheduled for June 16. Voting will be held from noon to 8 p.m. at the Massena Public Library.

Library Director Elaine Dunne said it will be like any regular vote, with voting inspectors and machines.

“We will probably have it in the Warren Room. We’re really trying to get the word out,” she said.

The vote is open to residents of Massena, Brasher, Louisville and Norfolk who live within the boundaries of the Massena Central School District.

Ms. Dunne has given presentations about the proposal in Massena, Brasher, Louisville and Norfolk. She’s scheduled to speak with the Massena Senior Citizens Club this week, and another public information session is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. March 31 at the library. Library Trustees Joseph Savoca and Patricia Ryan also addressed the Massena Town Council last week.

Despite the discussions, there are still some questions about the change.

Should the proposal pass, the library will no longer be owned by the town of Massena. Instead, it will be a school district public library, run by an elected Board of Trustees who live within the school district’s boundaries.

Funding that’s currently provided by the Massena Town Council from town of Massena taxpayers will instead come from property owners across the entire school district. However, the library will be independent from the district. School district tax bills will show a separate line item to fund the library, with the district collecting the tax money and turning it over to the library district board for the library’s operation.

The library’s 2020 budget is $683,750, with the town of Massena providing $607,430, the library’s fund balance covering $30,000, library charges covering $17,000, grants and donations covering $15,500, property rental bringing in $4,800, and the town of Louisville providing $9,000 a year.

Under the proposal to become a school district public library, officials are asking for an initial budget of $700,000. If there is a need to raise it in the future, approval from voters would be sought.

Residents with property assessed at $100,000 would see a tax increase of $89 a year in Massena, $102 a year in Louisville, $111 a year in Brasher and $109 a year in Norfolk. Town of Massena taxpayers would save $65 in town taxes.

If the proposition fails, Ms. Dunne said the library will continue to operate, but with uncertain funding from the town, there may need to be changes in staffing levels, hours of operation and user fees.

More information can be found in the latest library newsletter, which is available at www.massenapubliclibrary.org or by calling 315-769-9914.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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