Voters in the Highland Central School District approved the Highland Public Library’s $4.8 million bond issue proposal at the polls on Tuesday by a 62.5 percent majority. A total of 1,097 voters cast a ballot, with 687 votes for the project and 410 against.
“We’re just so grateful that the community supported the new library,” said Highland Library Board of Trustees President Joanne Loewenthal. “We’re very happy.”
“It’s a victory for everybody in the district,” added library board member Nancy Hammond. “It’s not for us [on the board]. It’s for the people in the Town of Lloyd.”
Mark McPeck, a lifelong Highland resident and five-year library board member, said he, too, is pleased with the results of the vote. “I think it’s going to be very good for the community as a whole.”
Now that the bond has passed, the next step will be for the architects to convert the conceptual design for the new library into working blueprints. That process is expected to take approximately six months. At that point, the plans have to be approved by the state Education Department because the Highland Library is chartered as a school district library. Following the completion of working documents and approval from the state, the construction bidding process will begin. It’s not likely that construction will begin before the spring thaw in 2016, but lead architect Paul Mays said at a public meeting last month that once the project is underway, it should be completed within nine or ten months.
A homeowner whose property is assessed at $250,000 can expect to pay approximately $6.50 more in taxes per month or $78 per year for the length of the 25-year bond. But according to Loewenthal, the final cost of the project is expected to be reduced further before completion through ongoing fundraising by the library and grant opportunities.