Library seeking a raise

Mattituck-Laurel Library taxpayers would see a 2.94 percent increase in their taxes if they approve funding to support a budget of $1.2 million in a public vote at the library on Tuesday, Sept. 28, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Spending would go up by $34,292 in 2011, most of it for an anticipated 13 percent increase in health insurance costs, library director Kay Zegel said.

Taxpayers would see a tax rate rise of $1.55 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. An owner of property assessed at $8,000 would pay an additional $12.40 a year to support library services, Ms. Zegel said. Taxpayers currently are assessed $48.19 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That figure would jump to $49.74 if the budget were approved.

The health insurance increase is reflected in the proposed budget line for personnel costs, up from $742,515 to $783,026. Other areas of increased costs include library materials (from $96,192 to $98,007), and operations and maintenance (from $80,796 to $82,369).

Costs for debt service and miscellaneous expenses would decrease in the proposed budget. The $150,400 spent on debt service in the current year would fall to $145,300 in 2011. The allocation for miscellaneous expenses would drop from $102,291 to $97,784.

While taxes account for most of the library’s revenue, the budget anticipates receiving $1,300 from New York State, $1,300 in contributions, $17,000 in fines and $150 from its operating account.

“Mattituck-Laurel Library has truly become a community center — a vision that the Board of Trustees had back in 1999 when library expansion was first conceived,” Ms. Zegel said. During a typical month, she said, the library provides meeting space for many community groups, including Mattituck Community Fund, North Fork Animal Welfare League, East End Lighthouses, the North Fork Italian American Club, North Fork Swim and North Fork Anglers.

One of the most unusual requests for space came from a young library patron who asked for a room to hold auditions for his band, Ms. Zegel said.

“How wonderful that this young man feels so at home at the library,” she said.

[email protected]