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Residents lacking libraries vote on funding district

Michael Morea, 35, of Oyster Bay, is the

Michael Morea, 35, of Oyster Bay, is the director of the Gold Coast Public Library in Glen Head. (Oct. 11, 2013) Credit: Daniel Brennan

Residents in parts of five North Shore Nassau villages not served by a public library will vote Tuesday on creating a funding district that would tax them to pay for full privileges at a nearby facility.

A public information session will be held Thursday night to explain the referendum, which would create a Brookville Library Funding District.

The 2,300 residents in portions of Brookville, Upper Brookville, Old Brookville, Matinecock and Muttontown who live in the part of the Locust Valley School District that formerly was Brookville School District No. 3 will vote on forming the taxing district.

On the same ballot, residents will vote on which of three adjacent libraries -- Locust Valley, Gold Coast in Glen Head or Oyster Bay-East Norwich -- would provide the service.

The Gold Coast library would take the smallest tax bite, while Locust Valley would be the most expensive option.

Mike Morea, director of the Gold Coast library, which opened in 2005 after a similar effort to serve an area without a library, provided the estimated total cost and tax rate per $100 assessed valuation for a one-year contract with the three potential contracting libraries: Gold Coast, $242,133 and $6.567; Oyster Bay, $287,132.50 and $7.820; and Locust Valley, $455,456 or $12.404.

He said Nassau County Department of Assessment data show the number of Class 1 residential properties in the area in question is 950, and the average taxable assessment is $3,707. 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.

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

"This is a logical community for us to be able to serve, and we'd be happy to provide service for them," said Morea, who has sent out several explanatory mailings on the proposal. "It will give us a bigger client base because we would receive revenue from the area, and that's always helpful in allowing us to operate."

The vote comes two years after a similar initiative was stymied when the town could not get absentee ballots out to voters in time and there were questions about the phrasing of the referendum.

The vote has been 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.

The information meeting Thursday will be at the Brookville Reformed Church, 2 Brookville Rd., at 7:30 p.m. The vote Tuesday is at the church from noon to 9 p.m.

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