On Election Day 2019, in addition to the names of candidates seeking reelection, Town of Gardiner voters will be faced with a ballot question: a referendum on whether or not the Gardiner Library should receive its first budget increase since the library opened eleven years ago. Proposition 414 reads, “Shall the annual contribution of the Town of Gardiner for the operating budget of the Gardiner Library be increased by Forty-Five Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty-Six ($45,846.00) Dollars, to the sum of Two Hundred Seventy-Five Thousand and Seventy-Six ($275,076.00) Dollars annually?”
The Gardiner Town Board voted unanimously at its July 9 meeting to request that the Ulster County Board of Elections place the question upon the ballot of the Town of Gardiner for a vote at the next general election on November 5. The action came in response to a petition signed by more than ten percent of Gardiner voters in support of the Gardiner Library Board’s request for a 20 percent budget increase.
The Library Board has argued that the increase is needed partly due to inflation — which means that the budget set at $229,230 in 2009 dollars is only worth $194,364 today — and partly because the library needs to create a reserve fund to “handle emergencies and major repairs.” Growing demand is also a factor: Program attendance at Gardiner Library events has increased by 55 percent since 2011, and library visits have increased by 20 percent since 2016.
The cost to taxpayers of the $45,846 annual boost will be $6 per $100,000 of assessed home value.