As they vote for president, member of Congress and state legislature, Woodstock residents are reminded to turn over the ballot to vote on whether their public library can borrow $5.8 million to replace the current building at 5 Library Lane with a two-story, 12,500-square-foot structure. They probably don’t need much of a reminder, though. The local issue has gained more than its share of attention.
The new building would increase storage, display and meeting space and allow for upgraded technology. Library officials say the current structure is inadequate to provide the programming the community wants and needs. The building also has mold, ventilation and other health and safety issues.
Non-construction costs including furniture, security, communication equipment, moving and relocation to a temporary library add up to just over a million dollars, which the library trustees hopes will come from fundraising.
Opponents say it is irresponsible to ask the voters to borrow millions of dollars amid economic uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. A group called the Library Alliance favors an addition and renovation instead of a new building.
The election is November 3. Early voting begins October 24 at the Mescal Hornbeck Community Center on Rock City Road in Woodstock. Absentee ballots are available by contacting the Ulster County Board of Elections at 334-5470.
The question posed to voters on the flip side of the ballot is: “Shall the Board of Trustees of the Woodstock Public Library District, located in the Town of Woodstock and County of Ulster, New York, be authorized pursuant to law (1) to finance the demolition, construction, and site work necessary or desirable for the construction, expansion, development and/or redevelopment of the library building located in Woodstock, New York at 5 Library Lane, including the acquisition of related furnishings, collection materials, equipment, and apparatus, by financing an amount not exceeding $5,800,000 through the issuance by the Town of Woodstock of bonds (and bond anticipation notes); (2) to authorize and direct the Town of Woodstock to levy therefore an ad valorem real property tax on real property located within the Woodstock Public Library District payable in annual installments over a maximum of 30 years in an amount sufficient to pay the debt service payable on the bonds issued by the Town (inclusive of all preliminary costs, interest, amortization of principal, costs of issuance, and other related and incidental expenses thereof); and (3) to assign and pledge all of said tax to the Town of Woodstock, which tax shall be in addition to the amount presently raised annually by tax upon the taxable property of the Town of Woodstock for the Library?”