Woodstock Library budget, board candidates go to the voters

(Illustration by Will)

(Illustration by Will)

Voters will decide noon-9 p.m. Thursday, September 4 on a $584,596.13 library spending plan and elect three members to the Board of Trustees. Ballots will be cast at the Woodstock Library, 5 Library Lane.

The budget represents a 2.42 percent increase in spending and is expected to raise $538,415.13 through the tax levy, an increase of 2 percent.

Trustees maintain the budget is bare bones and that they would’ve advocated for more, but fear people will defeat the budget as punishment for perceived mishandling of a proposed $1.6 million annex project. Library Director Amy Raff held the levy increase at 2 percent, mainly through reductions in books and materials. Raff maintains there is nothing in the budget that is earmarked for the annex or any other expansion.

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Opponents say a growing fund balance left over from unspent revenue will make it tempting for trustees to spend tax dollars on the proposed annex instead of using it to reduce taxes.

Raff and trustees say keeping a fund balance is fiscally responsible in case of emergency and the balance represents about two to three months of operating expenses. They also point out the library tax is $114 on a home assessed at $285,000.

 

Four candidates for three seats

There are four candidates running for three trustee positions on the board. Three are incumbents.

Jesse Jones is running for re-election. Jones is former developer of valuation and risk management algorithms for the financial industry. He is retired and spends much of his time volunteering for local organizations.

Caroline Ritchey was appointed to fill a vacancy within the last year and is running for election to her first full term. She works in accounting and bookkeeping, was a former home educator and is a member of Woodstock Transition. Her son, Sean Ritchey, is a member of the library’s newly appointed Facilities Task Force.

Dorothea Marcus was appointed in April to fill a vacancy and is running for her first full term. A local Realtor, she is on the board’s Public Relations Committee, helped organize the board’s June 8 open town hall meeting on the annex and says she is a “fierce advocate for community dialogue.”

Martin Nystrom, a first time candidate, serves on the Facilities Task Force. Nystrom is an architect with Nystrom Associates in Bearsville and has been in practice for more than 35 years in New York City and Ulster County.

The candidates with the first and second highest number of votes will each be elected to five-year terms. The third-highest vote-getter will serve a four-year term.

Voting will take place September 4 from noon to 9 p.m. at the Woodstock Library, 5 Library Lane. All registered voters in Woodstock are eligible to vote. An application for an absentee ballot is available at the library or online to print and submit.

More information is available at woodstock.org/vote.

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