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North Shore library district rejected by voters

Residents in parts of five North Shore Nassau villages not served by a public library on Tuesday voted down a funding district that would have taxed them to pay for full services at a nearby facility.

The referendum lost 181-21, not including a small number of absentee ballots, officials said.

There are 2,150 residents in portions of Brookville, Upper Brookville, Old Brookville, Matinecock and Muttontown in the Brookville Library Funding District. They live in the part of the Locust Valley School District that formerly was Brookville School District No. 3.

Had residents approved the funding district, they would have had a choice between three adjacent libraries -- Locust Valley, Gold Coast in Glen Head or Oyster Bay-East Norwich -- to provide the service.

The Gold Coast library would have taken the smallest tax bite, while Locust Valley would have been the most expensive option. For a residential property with the average taxable assessment, the annual tax cost in 2014 for a contract with a specific library would be: Gold Coast, $243.70; Oyster Bay, $290.20, and Locust Valley, $460.20.

Some North Shore residents said they were going to vote no because they were upset that they would be taxed without being able to vote on a library budget or trustees.

The Town of Oyster Bay would have collected the taxes as part of its annual property tax bill.

The vote came two years after a similar initiative was stymied when there were problems printing absentee ballots and making other arrangements in time, and because of questions about the phrasing of the referendum.

The vote, held at Brookville Reformed Church, was organized by the Nassau library system, which is responsible under state law for providing all residents with service from a public library.

State law requires residents who don't pay taxes in a library district to be able to get limited-access cards through local systems. At most branches, the nondistrict card simply allows basic borrowing, but not in-demand new arrivals and digital media, home access to Web databases and early program registration.

Ten funding districts have been set up to plug holes in library service in Nassau. Brookville would have been the first in the Town of Oyster Bay.


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