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Wyandanch voters pass scaled-down library budget, with smaller tax increase, by slim margin

Voters in Wyandanch narrowly approved a library budget Tuesday that raises taxes nearly 2% after rejecting a proposed tax increase last year that was significantly higher, according to unofficial results.

The proposed $2 million budget for 2020-21 passed 98-95 and is a 1.81% increase over the current budget. The library has been operating on a contingency budget after voters rejected last year’s proposed spending plan that had a tax increase of nearly 39%.

The library remains closed, so the vote was held outdoors in the parking lot. Wyandanch is the only library among the 56 in Suffolk County that has not reopened, said Kevin Verbesey, director for the Suffolk Cooperative Library System.

Library director Shadd Jamison said he’s "extremely happy" the budget passed.

"We’re going to be able to enhance services such as our virtual services, enhance our children and teen areas and interior improvements along the way," Jamison said.

The largest expense category, library staff, would decrease from $1.02 million to $967,088. Materials and supplies would drop from $156,000 to $149,500. Library operations would increase from $322,860 to $372,060 and fixed administrative expenses would rise from $218,000 to $266,500.

The library lists $557 as the amount residents would pay in annual taxes. Babylon Town officials have said that under the current average assessment the annual taxes would be $709. Library officials did not explain the discrepancy in the tax amounts when asked.

The library did not provide a line-item budget to residents or Newsday, only a budget outline, and has not responded to Newsday's questions on the outline or a Freedom of Information Act request for a full budget. Pauline Barfield, president of a Brooklyn public relations firm used by the library to send out news releases on the budget, has told Newsday she could not answer questions about the budget.

Also, candidate Jordan Thomas claimed victory in the trustee election, beating Khristian Jones by a vote of 126-85 for an open seat.

With Denise M. Bonilla

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