The deadline for submitting petitions has passed and there are nine candidates vying for five seats on the Woodstock Library Board of Trustees in the Thursday, September 1 election (noon-9 p.m. at the Library, 5 Library Lane.)
Incumbents David Lewis, John Ludwig, Barry Miller and George Finsrud are running to keep their seats while Rebecca Daniels, Tamara Katzowitz, Joseph Mangan, Kenneth Panza and Elizabeth Rosen are running for the first time.
David Lewis, who was recently appointed to fill a vacant seat, is seeking election to a full term. Lewis has run for several offices including for Town Supervisor in the past.
John Ludwig is finishing his first term, having been elected last year to a one-year term. Ludwig, a staunch opponent of the stalled plan to build an annex on the former Library Laundromat property, served on the Facilities Task Force, a panel that came up with recommendations for alternatives to the annex, including an update to the master plan, which is now underway.
Barry Miller has served on the board for nearly two decades and serves on several subcommittees including policy and public relations. He produces a regular YouTube video promoting library events and activities.
George Finsrud, who was narrowly defeated in last year’s election, was recently appointed to fill a vacant seat. He is again seeking election to a full term.
Joseph Mangan, a retired architectural engineer, served on the Facilities Task Force. Prior to joining the task force, he attended several meetings advocating for an alternative to the annex.
Kenneth Panza most recently served on the Town Board, but was defeated in the November election. Panza frequently attends library board meetings and has been critical of the annex and the board’s handling of planning process in the past.
Daniels touts her “skills and experience (including fundraising, public relations and financial management) working in non-profit organizations…”
Trustee Doris Goldberg is not running for reelection.
Fuller profiles of all the candidates will be included in the coming weeks.
Library district (that is, the entire town) voters will also decide on a 2017 spending plan that carries a 3 percent tax levy increase from $549,188 to $565,566. Overall spending of $599,616 to down 5 percent, but the proposed budget still calls for a tax increase because trustees opted not to use the fund balance to offset taxes as had been done in the past.
Still, spending has increased in key areas, including a 2 percent staff raise, though some expenses were offset by asking employees to contribute more toward their health benefits, resulting in a $12,000 savings.
Spending for materials and programs is also up, mostly in response to a recent survey distributed to patrons. The adult programs budget went from $200 to $2100, which will allow the library to rent space when town buildings are not available and to pay speakers to come in and give talks. Most presenters are now volunteers.
The budget also kicks in an extra $2500 for building maintenance, partly in response to patrons who say they desire a cleaner, more comfortable library.
A recent energy audit found the entire climate control system is in need of replacing, but Director Janet Dymond said action on that will wait until the results of the master plan update.
Library Director Janet Dymond recently put the tax increase in perspective, noting it boils down to $3.67 for a home assessed at $300,000, or about 31 cents per month.
Voting takes place Thursday, September 1 from noon to 9 p.m. in the library.