The proposal to build what has been called Long Island’s most expensive library was soundly rejected Wednesday night.
Residents, in a 2,396-1,580 vote, decided against constructing a new 50,000 square-foot facility for the Mastic-Moriches-Shirley library.
Moments after the tally was announced, library board president James Mazzarrella said: “The board is certainly disappointed for our entire community that the vote on the bond for a new library was not successful. There are issues that must be addressed at our current facility. We will continue working with our community to achieve our goal of solving the infrastructure challenges we face.”
The $33.5 million bond referendum, in addition to $5 million in cash reserves, would have paid for the energy-efficient building, which would have been built one mile south on the former Links golf course.
Bond opponents preferred keeping a new library closer to the existing location, either through renovation or building a new facility at a vacant bowling alley next to the current library. “It’s way over cost. I don’t know why we need it. It’s something other than a library,” said Shirley resident Frank Magdits, 54, who voted against the project. “It’s a waste of money.”
The proposed library wasn’t without its supporters.
“The current library is good but the new place is better and had much better parking,” said Kathy O’Donnell, 54, of Shirley, who voted in favor of the library.
She added, she didn’t mind the increased taxes. “They’re going up anyway, might as well get something good out of it,” O’Donnell said.
The average homeowner would have paid an extra $144 per year in property taxes. Interest from the bond would have be about $1.9 million annually, or about $57 million over the 30-year life of the bond.
Increased taxes weren’t a big concern for many.
“My wife and I have a daughter. It’s a place we can take her and utilize the activities,” said Jason Linnick, 30, of Mastic.
John Sicignano, president of the Mastic Park Civic Association, filed a petition with the New York State Department of Education last month to cancel the referendum. He was represented by Ray Keenen, a Shirley-based attorney and president of the Manor Park Civic Association. The action was denied last week.
Keenan called the final vote an “overwhelming rejection of this costly proposal.”
The proposal was the result of a series of meetings starting in 2015 in which the majority of the roughly 100 residents who participated supported a new facility.