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Library asks voters for $13M expansion

Guilderland Library officials say space has run out

A rendering of the proposed Guilderland Public Library expansion.

A rendering of the proposed Guilderland Public Library expansion.

— Guilderland Public Library officials are hoping residents support a plan to build a new $12.9 million expansion to the library in the summer of 2013.

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Submitted photo

A rendering of the proposed reading room to be included in the library expansion residents will vote on from noon to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26. Voting will take place at each of the Guilderland Central School District’s five elementary schools.

On Tuesday, June 26, a referendum will be put before residents to approve a bond for the entire sum of the project. The plan has been in the works since 2003.

“We did a series of long range planning efforts and performed surveys throughout the community,” said Doug Morrissey, president of the library’s Board of Trustees. “The only way to give residents what they said they wanted is to expand.”

The library was built in 1992 and is 27,650 square feet. Since that time library attendance has more that doubled. Library Director Barbara Randall attributed that to community growth and the ability to provide better programming.

“We’re out of space, it’s that simple,” she said. “We’re out of space for materials, out of space for programming the community wants us to have and out of space for tutors to students. We’re going to be focusing on the same things we’re doing now, but more people can participate.”

According to library officials, the waiting list to use library space is long and at times residents are waiting months for a room to open. Attendance to programs has also increased 1,000 percent since the library opened.

“One of the things that makes us unique is that Guilderland doesn’t have a village square,” said Randall. “Besides parks, we (the library) are one of the only places where people of all incomes and backgrounds can gather together.”

The project would expand the building to 47,660 square feet. Morrissey said the plan would provide more space for a larger children’s room, provide a larger reading room for adults, allow for more meeting and study rooms and create a center for local history and genealogy. Energy efficient lighting and geothermal heating and cooling would also be installed.

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Mike 2 years, 6 months ago

I love Guilderland. I love the quality of the schools. I love the quality of the people. I love the quality the services. What I don't love is the level of taxes. Don't get me wrong, I am willing to pay for the services that I receive. I understand that the roads have to be plowed, the leaves have to be collected and the streets themselves need maintenance. The police have to be compensated for patroling the roads, the parks have to be groomed and someone has to count the tax money. I get it. What I don't get is this, the day after the school vote, a postcard comes in the mail from the Guilderland Library asking for support for a $12.95M library expansion. It says "only" $55 per $200,000, or to make it easy, $1.06 per week - "less than a cup of coffee". Elsewhere, it states, FOR 20 YEARS.

Here's what they're not highlighting:

• I am not a fan of percentages because they can be misleading, but It fails to state that this increase is over 25.5% of the current tax. • They state the tax is $55 on $200,000 assessment, but it fails to state that the average assessment in Guilderland is $246,500. Most everyone reading this will be paying closer to $67.65, or $1.30/week. • In 2012, the library tax rate, before the change ($1.08/$1,000 of assessment), is greater than the General Fund - $0.33/$1,000 (Public Safety, Town Administration, Parks, etc), Highway Fund - $0.99/$1,000 (Roads, Plowing, Painting, etc), Fire Department - $0.95/$1,000 (Public Safety) and Water Fund $1.07/$1,000 (Distribution). After the increase, you are looking at $1.36/$1,000. • Increased operating costs going forward for the increased space.

It's great to have public meeting spaces, to have study areas, tween space, etc, but at what cost? When the Town wants to repair their water or sewer plants, people are going to yell about their taxes being too high. When the the pipes in the ground start bursting because they haven't been replaced in 50 years or the the roads need to be repaved and there are no operating funds to utilize, who will be the first to get upset about high taxes. Probably the same people who voted "yes" for the expansion. As sad as it is to say, Library's are going the way of the 8 track and the VCR; they are the bathhouses of our generation. Do you really want to pay $67.65 a year for 20 years for your VCR? If you are willing to spend the money, let the Town raise taxes by $67.65 to pay for water plant upgrades, infrastructure improvements, technology upgrades, etc.

If you think about about, that would be more useful.

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