Voters approved the Woodstock Library budget 497-300 despite a campaign to defeat the spending plan as a protest against a proposed $1.6 million annex, but also re-elected embattled trustee Jesse Jones less than two weeks after a failed attempt to investigate impeaching him. Two other previously appointed trustees were elected to their first full terms.
The $584,596.13 spending plan represents an increase of 2.42 percent and is expected to raise $538,415.13 through the tax levy, an increase of two percent.
Library Director Amy Raff and trustees have maintained it is a no-frills budget and that no money whatsoever is earmarked for the proposed annex or any expansion.
Opponents argued the board should have proposed a zero tax increase, given a five percent hike last year and a growing fund balance.
Raff and the board contended that a fund balance is financially prudent in case of emergencies and only represents two or three months of operating expenses. Opponents countered there are plenty of unspent funds that may tempt the board to spend more money on the annex.
Despite calls by trustee Geoffrey Hanowitz for an impeachment, Jesse Jones garnered the highest number of votes, 414, easily winning re-election. Since Jones was one of the top two vote-getters, he will serve a five-year term.
At the August 21 board meeting, Hanowitz called for an investigation into Jones because Jones had spoken against the annex project in its current form. Hanowitz argued Jones violated state Library Association guidelines that call for library trustees to support majority board decisions.
Trustee Dorothea Marcus, who was appointed in April to fill a vacancy, was elected to her first full term with 405 votes. She will also serve a five-year term. Marcus abstained from the August 26 vote to investigate how to impeach Jones.
Caroline Ritchey, also appointed to fill a vacancy, was elected to her first full term with 366 votes. She will serve for three years. Ritchey voted for the motion to explore impeachment proceedings.
Martin Nystrom, a newcomer who serves on the library’s facilities task force, narrowly lost with 355 votes.