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Library proposal voted down

Expansion referendum defeated 3,428 to 1,191

Guilderland library officials said the expansion was needed because the current building is aging and the community has grown since the facility was built in 1992.

Guilderland library officials said the expansion was needed because the current building is aging and the community has grown since the facility was built in 1992. Photo by Kristen Roberts.

— ("Library officials) shouldn’t be building the Taj Mahal of libraries when people are struggling," he said. "This was something that, the more people heard about it, the less they liked it."

Former Guilderland Town Board member Mark Grimm, who was also an outspoken opponent of the expansion, also chalked up the defeat to the economic environment.

"This was not an anti-library vote. It was an anti-tax vote," Grimm said in a statement. "This exhilarating victory proves voters really can protect their interests if they act on their own, no matter the odds."

Nelligan said he was upset not just with the proposal, but with the amount spent by library officials in advertising and public relations.

Randall said all of the money spent on advocacy was paid for through the Guilderland Library Foundation, and was not purchased with taxpayer money.

“We have a whole list of systems breaking down, structure-wise,” she said. “We need to find a way to pay for them and it will increase our operating budget as a result. We can't let the roof leak and we need a new boiler.”

Randall said the library could also lose the $138,000 in grant money it was awarded to move sewer lines as part of the expansion. Part of the money was slated for repaving the parking lot and changing the entrance to include a new book drop. She is looking to see if a portion of the money can be kept for the improvements.

Poll workers told library officials a record number of people showed up for the vote.

Both Morissey and Nelligan said they were happy about the high turnout.

"That is what democracy is all about, is public participation," said Morrisey.

Nelligan said he knew the proposal would be voted down as soon as he saw how many people were at the polls.

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