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New Bayport-Blue Point library would mean tax hike, official says

A rendering of the entrance to the proposed

A rendering of the entrance to the proposed Bayport-Blue Point Public Library at the St. Ursula Center convent in Blue Point. Credit: BBS Architects, Landscape Architects, & Engineers, P.C.

Homeowners in the Bayport-Blue Point library district would pay over $200 more in taxes annually if they approve a $16.85 million proposal for a new library, officials said Wednesday.

Residents will vote Dec. 6 on whether to approve the plan to buy the St. Ursula Center convent on Middle Road in Blue Point and turn it into a 29,000-square-foot library, which would replace the current library on Blue Point Avenue.

Library officials have said the current 13,325-square-foot facility is too small and requires about $2.5 million in repairs. The library struck a deal last month to buy the convent from the Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk for $3.65 million.

Library board president Ronald F. Devine Jr. said at a meeting Wednesday that Bayport residents in Islip Town would pay an additional $18.88 per month in library taxes if the bond proposition is approved. Blue Point residents in Brookhaven Town would pay $19.11 more per month, he said.

He said he could not estimate the percentage tax hike for the average home. 

The current library has been appraised at $2 million and would be sold to partly offset the cost of the new building, Devine said.

"It's aging rapidly," he said of the library, which was built in the 1950s and expanded around 1990. "We're trying to make a better library."

Some residents at the meeting questioned the need for a new library and said they could not afford the tax increase.

"You call it a library, it looks like a country club to me," said Patricia Carpenter of Blue Point.

Alice Painter of Blue Point said the new library doesn't need the community rooms proposed by the district.

"I see no reason why we can't make do with books in a building," she said. "We can't be spending all this money."

Supporters countered that the current facility lacks enough room for special programs.

"The library has a number of programs that's underserving the public," said Alex Wellems, vice president of the Blue Point Community Coalition. "There are people being blocked out based on space limitations."

Some supporters said the building's pipes have burst, and it sometimes is too hot in the summer.

Bayport Civic Association president Bob Draffin said a new library would be "a once in a lifetime opportunity," adding he supports the bond proposal. He said the new facility would cost less than $1 a day in additional taxes.

"To me, 60 cents a day ... is well worth it," Draffin said.

Library officials have scheduled community meetings to discuss the plan at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 24 and 7 p.m. on Nov. 29. Both meetings will be at the library, at 203 Blue Point Ave. in Blue Point.