Proposed Saugerties library budget down, taxes up

Saugerties Library (photo by Will Dendis)

The Saugerties Library’s proposed 2019 budget cuts spending by just over $20,000, but raises the tax levy by more than $35,000, or 6.6 percent.

Library director Katie Scott Childress explained how this happened. “The library was using the fund balance for a number of years to keep the budget at zero increase, within the tax cap. But the library purchased two properties directly behind the library. By doing that, we tripled our parking capacity and created an outdoor space, where we can have performances and some park benches donated in memory of Gloria Fallon. It’s shaped up to be really lovely place. But we used fund balance money for that. That’s why we can’t use it anymore to balance the budget.”

In the previous year, the appropriated fund balance to the budget was $80,659. This year it will only be $20,000.

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As to the effect on the tax rate, the increase comes to less than one cent per $1000 of assessed value of the property, upping the tax rate from 30.7 cents per thousand of assessed value to 31.5 cents per thousand. For a home assessed at $200,000, that would mean an increase of $1.64, from $61.36 to $63. This means that for the first time since the law was enacted in 2012, the library will exceed the state’s 2 percent tax cap, coming in with a tax levy increase of 6.58 percent.

The proposed spending plan is nearly $20,000 less than 2018 ($639,144 vs. $659,002). Cuts were made to Professional Services such as accounting, legal and IT consultations, and in materials, though the library still promises to add more than 5500 books and ebooks to its collection.

Voters will also choose which of three candidates for the three available seats on the board of trustees will serve the longest. Of the three seats available, two are for full five-year terms and the third is for three years. There are two incumbents — Katie Cokinos, who was appointed in January to fill a term for a trustee who passed away; and Elizabeth Stegmayer, who came on to the board to fill a term after Vernon Benjamin resigned about six months ago. The third candidate is Timothy Scott, who has not run for trustee before.

The two with the higher vote totals will fill the five-year seats; the other will get a three-year term of office.

The vote is Thursday, Sept. 6 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the library, 91 Washington Ave.

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