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Aug 9, 2017 10:29 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Votors Approve $2.28 Million Hampton Bays Library Budget On Tuesday

The Hampton Bays Library. PRESS FILE
Aug 11, 2017 1:00 PM

Taxpayers on Tuesday approved the Hampton Bays Public Library’s $2.28 million budget for 2018, by a vote of 229-99.

The $2,288,654 budget increases overall spending by more than $56,000, or 2.5 percent. It goes into effect on January 1, 2018.

Despite the increase in spending, the budget stays under the state-mandated tax levy cap. Under the approved budget, the library tax rate is expected to increase about 5 percent under the spending plan, from just over 59 cents to slightly more than 62 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. As a result, a taxpayer whose home is assessed at $400,000 will pay about $252 in library taxes next year, or almost $15 more than the current year, according to library officials.

The total taxes collected by the library will increase by about 3.3 percent, from nearly $1.95 million to just over $2 million. Although that number exceeds 2 percent, Library Director Susan LaVista said the budget does not pierce the cap because of state-approved exemptions.

Though the budget also saw some major cuts—including the elimination of the entire security guard line, a $33,000 savings—Ms. LaVista said the budget keeps most of the library’s programming and other offerings.

“This operating budget will allow the library to continue its long-standing traditions of providing excellent customer service, innovative programs and new materials for all patrons, and allocates for continued upkeep and needed repairs to the building as well as additional maintenance,” Ms. LaVista said in a prepared statement. “The Board of Trustees, director and staff would like to thank everyone for coming to vote and for supporting your community library. We look forward to serving our patrons in the coming year.”

Two of the larger increases in the proposed budget fall under the repair and salary lines.

Ms. LaVista explained in a recent interview that $8,000 was added to the repairs line, bumping that amount to $31,000. She explained that additional funds had to be earmarked after the public shot down a pair of multimillion-dollar bond referendums over the past year that sought to renovate the Ponquogue Avenue facility. She noted that the additional money still would not address the most pressing needs, including a new roof, but would allow officials to make some patches until they come up with a new long-term plan.

The salary line, meanwhile, is increasing by 6.4 percent, or $725,000, to about $1.2 million, and Ms. LaVista said that bump is mostly due to recent legislation that increases the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

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What a bunch of idiots in HB. Let them walk all over us.
By HamptonDad (109), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 17 4:37 PM
Raises for everyone! Just raise taxes! woo-hoo!!
By CaptainSig (640), Dutch Harbor on Aug 10, 17 9:31 AM
It's a nice looking library offering too many programs, with too many employees for it's size and the Board has no real game plan as how to go about addressing the maintenance issues on a budget plan. They simply cannot figure this out.
By sharkbait (31), Hampton Bays on Aug 10, 17 12:56 PM
I think it's unfortunate that taxpayers approved a budget increase requested by an unelected, self-appointed board of trustees. #TaxationWithoutRepresentationIsWrong

17 of 24 Long Island association libraries have elected boards of trustees. These boards amended their bylaws to allow for trustee elections. Westhampton, Quogue and HBays Library boards intentionally choose to deny taxpayers their right to vote for trustees.

We vote for school, fire and village boards. We should ...more
By st (73), westhampton beach on Aug 10, 17 6:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
They kept this one quiet. What else is new with that corrupted library. Time for a new director. Couldn't even find when the vote was on the facebook page or anything. Three signs in front of building that is it. This is what is wrong with the town. Schools and libraries just keep having votes until it is passed. What a disgrace. Keep screwing people on fixed incomes. What else is new.
By turkeyloser (19), east quogue on Aug 12, 17 2:29 PM
Ok the comments are not very positive for the Board at the Library. So here is a thought. The citizens should first attend the Board Meetings. We have been able to effect some change by going and asking pointed questions. We have a right to require a vote on Board members as they are receiving tax dollars, I believe Southampton Town Board can aid that effort at least in the direction we need to follow. Then we need to compare their mission statement with their program offereings to reign in ...more
By tom (49), Hampton Bays on Aug 14, 17 12:24 AM
1 member liked this comment
Unfortunately, tom, the Town of Southampton can do nothing. These self-appointed trustees maintain absolute power over millions of tax dollars. We contacted the NYS Comptroller, the NYS Attorney General, the NYS Inspector General, Bridget Fleming and Fred Thiele. They researched for us, enlisted the help of their legal departments. There is nothing they can do. It seems our only taxpayer option is to sue the libraries for representation with our taxation if the trustees refuse to allow democratic ...more
By st (73), westhampton beach on Aug 18, 17 6:43 PM
2.28 million budget ? Its time for an audit. LaVista will not reveal number of em[ployees. My tax bill shows I pay more for the library than police protection. Check yours if you dont believe me.
By P. Revere (43), hampton Bays on Aug 21, 17 8:40 PM