Southold Library budget includes 2% tax hike

The Southold Library is taking the hint from Governor Andrew Cuomo, who earlier this year proposed a 2 percent cap on property tax hikes.

The State Legislature has yet to act on the governor’s proposal, but the library’s pending 2012 budget carries a property tax hike of 2 percent.

If voters say yes, library spending will rise by $15,308 to $831,860. The tax rate will increase by 72 cents to $25.46 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The increase includes $9,000 in small pay raises for the library’s 21 employees and minor increases in building maintenance and contractual expenses, said Library Director Caroline MacArthur.

“The board of directors and I feel very strongly that now is not the time to enhance services or programs, but to make every effort to continue with current offerings,” said Ms. MacArthur. “We are hoping the community will support this and understand the philosophy of staying very fiscally conservative.”

The new budget includes the same amount as last year, $75,500, for library materials. Ms. MacArthur said that the library is short on shelf space and is currently removing one book for every book added to the collection.

The library suffered a blow last year when it’s $7 million expansion project failed by a wide margin. The director said that the library didn’t spent as much as usual on maintenance last year in the hopes of upgrading the building through the failed expansion.

Ms. MacArthur says Southold residents with budget questions can call her at 765-2077.

The library budget will be on the same ballot as the Southold school budget on May 17. Voting takes place in the high school gymnasium from 3 to 9 p.m.