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.

— Morrissey said much of the preliminary research to look into the project was paid for through grants. The plan is to bond the entire $12.9 million cost of the project and in the future, the library would hold fundraisers to help offset some of the costs to taxpayers.

Most homeowners within the Guilderland Library District currently pay about $1 to $1.70 per $1,000 of assessed property value. With the bond, taxpayers would likely see an increase of about 28 cents per $1,000.

Some have raised questions about bonding such a large amount, especially during a time when the community is trying to rebound from the recession.

“We tried to be as prudent as possible and the reason why we are doing a referendum is so the community can vote on this decision,” said Morrissey. “We are leaving it completely in the people’s hands.”

Randall said the expansion is necessary for Guilderland to maintain its standard of living.

“If you want your community to continue in a positive direction, one of the things people look at is schools, the library and recreation areas,” she said. (Those wanting to buy a home) look for things that are family areas. With nanotech and the university expanding the way they are … we’re in that area and need to move forward like everyone.”

If the referendum passes, the project is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2013. The expansion would then take about 24 months to complete. The library would remain open during construction.

Morrissey said the library is the right place for residents to invest.

“A library, first, will always be about the books but it’s about more than that. It’s about learning in general and enhancing the community with programs,” he said. “Also, the thought that the growth of Kindles will kill the book is a betrayal. Not everyone can afford one and there are still a lot of people who depend on books to get their educational materials. That’s not going away anytime soon.”

The polls will be open 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.

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Mike 3 years, 7 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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