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Jun 15, 2016 11:14 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Taxpayers Speak Up, Reject $15.8 Million Bond Referendum

Jun 15, 2016 1:09 PM

Tension ran high in the main meeting room in the Hampton Bays Public Library Tuesday night as more than 1,200 ballots were tallied on the proposed $15.8 million bond—a simple majority would have financed the demolition of the current building and the construction of a brand new facility in its place.

Following 40 minutes of waiting, library officials learned the fate of the bond.

It had failed, 719-507.

“Obviously, we’re really disappointed,” said Hampton Bays Library Board Vice President David Zimmerman immediately after learning the news. “We put up a project that the public basically told us they wanted.”

His comment was referencing the fact that the rejected project was pitched following more than a year of informational meetings in which hamlet taxpayers were asked what they want to see in a new library. The plan put forward on Tuesday would have addressed the biggest issues raised by residents: the need for more educational space and parking, and the replacement of an outdated and cramped structure that lacks basic necessities, like ample insulation.

If approved, the bond would have cleared the way for the demolition of the current library and the construction of a larger, two-story facility with a larger parking lot. The additional parking would have been made possible with the purchase of an adjoining half-acre lot; that sale is now off the table since the bond was rejected.

If the bond had been approved, the library district tax rate would have climbed from about 59 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to 93 cents per $1,000—a 57-percent increase. Therefore, an individual whose property is assessed at $350,000 would have expected to pay about $326.80 in library taxes next year, or about $120 more than this year for the life of the 20-year bond.

While they thought they had strong community support, both Madeline O’Keefe, the president of the library board, and Mr. Zimmerman noted that the projected jump in library taxes most likely doomed their project.

“We don’t have a ‘Plan B,’” said Hampton Bays Library Director Susan LaVista on Tuesday night, adding that board members will spend the next few weeks coming up with alternate plans now that the bond was rejected.

Ms. LaVista also said that the board must also address more pressing issues, namely completing much-needed repairs to the current building, work that includes replacing its leaky roof and updating the heating and air conditioning system.

“We still have all those problems that we are dealing with,” Mr. Zimmerman added.

Ms. O’Keefe said her board still has to figure out a plan to finance those renovations.

Although they are unhappy with the results, board members agreed that they did a good job spreading the word about their project, pointing to Tuesday’s turnout as a sign that taxpayers were aware of the situation.

“The board worked really hard, and the director worked really hard,” Ms. O’Keefe said.

Board members had been discussing possible renovations to the library since the end of 2014, and first shared their idea with the public in the spring of 2015—the same time they began soliciting comments and recommendations from library users and hamlet residents. At those meetings, attendees asked that their new library offer more educational space, an upgraded heating and air conditioning system, and additional parking.

Leading up to this week’s vote, library officials estimated that they held at least 30 different presentations about their plans in order to receive feedback from the public.

“I feel we did everything we could possibly do to get the community informed,” Ms. LaVista said. “And the community has decided.”

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For all those incorrectly posting about the bond money would be going towards staff- THAT IS A JOKE. The staff of this library are grossly underpaid, not to mention under-appreciated. The board members don't care a damn about the staff of that library, and I speak from DIRECT experience. RAISES? What are those again? HB library staff get an annual 2% cost of living raise (yes, laugh now) and that has been that way for YEARS. But the director sure as hell gets a big ole' raise every year. But don't ...more
By Liber728 (9), Hampton Bays on Jun 15, 16 1:56 PM
Sounds like this is a disgruntled worker inside of the Library. Probably expecting a higher salary, raises, etc. to go along with the 16 million. Well...the Hampton Bays community is tapped out and let this be a warning to the Hampton Bays School District. The community came out in strength for an absolutely unreasonable attempt to fleece our community. We all know who is making the big bucks in the Library AND the School District. More votes were cast during this Library vote then the last ...more
By lesile131 (1), Hampton Bays on Jun 15, 16 2:47 PM
Agree - same thing happens at the WHB Library. People need to be paid a fair wage. Time for ELECTED Boards at all Librarys.
By realistic (464), westhampton on Jun 15, 16 11:02 PM
2 members liked this comment
There were some comments in the previous article about the bond regarding some of the money going towards staff. Which would be basically illegal even if it passed, since that wasn't part of the bond. And you're assuming I agree with the bond. I absolutely do not. Although the building is in bad shape, the attempt at this project was much too frivolous and assumptive. "Bad form" as the Brits would say.
By Liber728 (9), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 16 3:35 PM
It follows that a much larger building would need more staff. Regardless of where it comes from in the budget, the tab is picked up by the taxpayer.
By bb (892), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 16 4:43 PM
bb - If there were an increase in staff, there would have to be an increase in the annual budget, which is also voted on. But additional staff was not a part of this bond. Also a larger building does not necessarily mean more staff. Not sure why that would be assumed. If the larger building resulted in a higher influx of patrons, THAT would be an reason for more staff, sure.
By Liber728 (9), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 16 3:02 PM
Wouldn't the reason you need a larger building be because you would have more people? Or was this proposition just so there is more space for the same amount of people?

No one has stated that this bond issue included staff wages. A larger building entails more costs. More shelving, chairs, furniture; more maintenance, more staff, higher utilities. Hence in addition to the bond, the budget would have to go up. I am unsure why this is a sticking point for you. Contributors are projecting ...more
By bb (892), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 16 3:54 PM
This goal of this construction project was not to get more people in the library - it was to fit the needs of the community already using the library and to rebuild a failing structure. Did you attend any of the information sessions? Doesn't sound like it.
By Liber728 (9), Hampton Bays on Jun 21, 16 4:25 PM
For all those incorrectly posting about the bond money would be going towards staff- THAT IS A JOKE. The staff of this library are grossly underpaid, not to mention under-appreciated. The board members don't care a damn about the staff of that library, and I speak from DIRECT experience. RAISES? What are those again? HB library staff get an annual 2% cost of living raise (yes, laugh now) and that has been that way for YEARS. But the director sure as hell gets a big ole' raise every year. But don't ...more
By Liber728 (9), Hampton Bays on Jun 15, 16 1:56 PM
I didn't see any posts about the current staff. I think everyone had issue with an unnecessary construction project. I personally think the staff is great, but I was opposed to the new library. Any reference I saw to the staff was the potential increase in staff due to the new building.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jun 15, 16 2:27 PM
3 members liked this comment
I have just one thing to say: Thanks HB voters for voting this thing down!!!

Oh, just one more thing: you know it will only be a matter of time before the "trustees" (I don't "trust" them) put forth another proposal and keep doing so until they get what they want. This is so unfair; if the referendum has passed, "we the people" would never get a second chance to vote again to overturn it. Stay vigilant, keep an eye on what is going on and continue to vote "NO". Remind our "trustees" ...more
By HamptonDad (220), Hampton Bays on Jun 15, 16 4:20 PM
2 members liked this comment
Mr. Zimmerman was seriously misled if he thinks that they "“put up a project that the public basically told us they wanted.” They held meetings and those that showed up expressed their opinions. But most people felt there was no need for a new library and no meeting was really going to change their minds. Its seems this board is out of touch with the community.

There is a parking problem. Figure that out, get creative about where to hold the social programs and get back ...more
By bb (892), Hampton Bays on Jun 15, 16 6:03 PM
4 members liked this comment
Perhaps the Board is "out of touch with the community" because they are an appointed board, not an elected board. They appoint each other. The Library is funded by millions of tax dollars, yet there is no true representation with that taxation. Appointed isn't American.

Visit www.wflelectedboard.org for more information. Taxpayers in WH/WHB have been asking for an elected board since last summer.
By st (126), westhampton beach on Jun 15, 16 10:09 PM
1 member liked this comment
The only time the parking lot is full is during big elections.
By GoldenBoy (341), EastEnd on Jun 15, 16 6:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
They should use that money for code enforcement and for exposing and prosecuting fraudulent or illegal residents so the schools aren't so overburdened with people who don't belong there. I can't even imagine how much funds the tax payers are supporting in that regard!
By resident9 (12), hampton bays on Jun 16, 16 8:36 AM
2 members liked this comment
"they"? The action you want is determined on a town level. The library has no funds to do what you propose, nor is their purpose. You would be very well advised to take a 5th grade civics lesson. This is why Trump is in the running.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 16 11:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
Some of these comments are so out of touch with the reality that takes place at the HB library. To say that the library agenda was to fleece the community and that both the school district is in cohoots is just outrageous. These are the only two cultural institutions in our hamlet. Better schools and libraries increase the value of your community and often the value of your homes. And the parking lot is NOT only full when there is an election. How about programs for the kids, AARP all day classes, ...more
By Infoseeker (276), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 16 8:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
How does "chair yoga" translate into "cultural center" for one thing. There are plenty of other buildings that can be utilized for meetings, classes, etc. It doesn't have to be done at the Library. Furthermore, on what factual authority do you base your conclusion that the value of the community and property values will go up due to a better library or school? Only 1 in 5 households in HB have children in the school district, but yet we pay the highest tax per dollar value of our homes due to ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 16 9:36 AM
I didn't actually read where it was stated that the library's agenda was to fleece the community & they are in cohoots with the school. Where did you read that?

I agree that the parking lot is often full. Especially around 5-6 when all the kids are being picked up and people are doing yoga etc. They need a new parking lot. Seems they need a new roof, although didn't we get a new roof a decade or so ago during that renovation? Not sure why we would not have. Yes, good schools and ...more
By bb (892), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 16 9:40 AM
2 members liked this comment
Need to do a better job finding out who WAS and currently ARE Hampton Bays Board of Trustee members. The current Superintendent Lars Clemensen was a library board trustee and VOTED for the new $15.8 million building. He resigned RIGHT AFTER the vote. In any other town...it would be viewed as a conflict of interest. Hampton Bays is a special place enjoyed only by a circle of people. I think this library disaster may have woken up a couple more community members. Lets see what Lars and the Board ...more
By Michelle46 (1), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 16 9:52 AM
2 members liked this comment
Maybe a third firehouse would be better... Want to talk about wasteful.
By bigblue84 (89), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 16 9:36 AM
2 members liked this comment
Perfect place to hold some of these programs! Much better use of our tax dollar
By bb (892), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 16 9:42 AM
Maybe the library can stand on Main St Memorial Day and July 4th weekend collecting donations too!
By Infoseeker (276), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 16 10:03 AM
1 member liked this comment
I can't believe the hateful, negative comments by some members of our community. Being anonymous doesn't grant you the right to be racist, ignorant or stupid. The library board are volunteers doing their best to fix a valuable community asset that is in desperate need of improvements. I am proud of all the wonderful things our library offers and how many people it provides help not available elsewhere. The library is a community center for all age groups and is truly one of the best assets in Hampton ...more
By josepha (2), Shirley on Jun 16, 16 11:25 AM
I find your comments hateful. Most of the comments were well thought out, practical and based on the issues facing the entire Hamlet. Most people can only spread $1 so far. If the Trustees are sp passionate about the Library, they should find alternative sources of funding.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 16 12:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
And what alternative sources of funding would you suggest, genius?
By josepha (2), Shirley on Jun 16, 16 3:10 PM
I'll answer that. They could attempt a grant once in awhile. Isn't that typically a significant duty of a nonprofit administrator? The old director secured several pretty hefty grants during his employment. The current director? Not one. And although it would take way more money to rebuild than most grants could possibly secure, it would at least be TRYING instead of sitting back and EXPECTING.
By Liber728 (9), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 16 3:28 PM
Wow - How did you know I was a genius? Good for you! I used my genius-level analytical skills to determine if the benefit of the new library exceeded the cost and if the new library was the "want" of a few versus the "need" of many. Based on my genius-level analytical skills, I determined that the cost exceeded the benefit and the new library was actually the "want" of a few. If the few want the library, they should use their genius skills and find sources of revenue to do so. I make the analogy ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 16 9:18 AM
Great, great news. Now let's start talking about CUTTING so residents of Hampton Bays aren't driven out of our own hamlet by free spending, careless politicians.
By SHPredatorDept (72), Southampton on Jun 16, 16 11:34 AM
2 members liked this comment
Agreed. Tax rates have climbed heavily in recent years, making homes less affordable, and making it more and more difficult for some people to stay in their homes.
By Muntiss (2), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 16 12:20 PM
yeah, cause that's only been an issue since 1983
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 16 1:09 PM
"We put up a project that the public basically told us they wanted.” Sorry, Mr. Zimmerman, the fact that the bond was voted down should evidence that clearly the public does not want it. Thank you, Hampton Bays residents for turning out & voting. HBUFSD - take note.
By MrsD (50), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 16 4:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
Josepha if your from Shirley why are you calling it "our" community? According to your title you don't even live in the town. And I haven't seen one racist comment come to think of it. I find your comment ignorant and stupid...just my opinion.
By GoldenBoy (341), EastEnd on Jun 16, 16 9:57 PM
Just tear down the library. who needs a library anymore? anything can be found on the Internet. it would be cheaper just to give everybody Internet service Than having a library
By BruceLee (3), on Jun 16, 16 11:34 PM
Oh really Bruce Lee, "anything" can be found on the internet? Can you afford an EBSCO database that costs thousands of dollars a year? I'll assume you haven't gone to college so you're probably going to have to Google "EBSCO." Go ahead, I'll wait.
By Liber728 (9), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 16 8:52 AM
I respectfully disagree, Bruce Lee. I was adamantly opposed to the new building, but the library is and can be an asset to the community if properly maintained and run. IMHO, they need to fix the building, streamline the programs, and move on....
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 16 9:23 AM
3 members liked this comment
Oh and by the way tell the firemen to stop asking for money on holidays when they could sell one of their fire houses and keep all that money. Why Hampton Bays Has two huge fire houses is beyond me
By BruceLee (3), on Jun 16, 16 11:36 PM
Why don't YOU tell them?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 16 1:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
May I suggest the managemen of the library consider purchasing the adjoining house renovate it to provide room for special events of an educational nature and also meet the parking needs of the library and update the present building.I would expect the voters and taxpayers of HB would support something along those.I am not a genius but met one once and he/she was not very constructive.
By watchdog1 (533), Southampton on Jun 17, 16 9:48 AM
Exactly what I've heard from more than one community member.


By bb (892), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 16 10:42 AM
Why can't "special events of an educational nature" be held at one of the schools? Why keep spending money and taking taxpaying properties off the tax roll?
HB taxes are way out of line with all the surrounding communities, I know people in SH and WHB that pay less than $10K annual real estate taxes for houses worth in excess of $2M. A $2M house in HB would be paying at least $20K. We need to correct the mismanagement across the board, and throwing more money at everyone that asks for it is ...more
By HamptonDad (220), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 16 10:59 AM
Or at the Senior Center when it isn't in use. Usage of this building, paid for by the tax payer, could be maximized.

Let's utilize what we have before we build more and more that taxes us all to death and isn't used to it's fullest potential.
By bb (892), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 16 4:00 PM
While we're on our neighborhood association libraries funded by tax dollars but with appointed boards of trustees (HBays and WH), how about this for wasteful spending and for conflict of interest:

The Westhampton Not-Free Library's Long Range Planning Committee (comprised solely of 3 appointed trustees and the Library Director) issued a report this week. They are "recommending the commencement of the renovation of the first floor of the library."

In 2007 taxpayers approved a bond ...more
By st (126), westhampton beach on Jun 17, 16 1:14 PM
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