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Some residents balk at proposed library tax

Some North Shore residents who plan to vote Tuesday on creating a Brookville Library Funding District are upset that they would be taxed without being able to vote on a library budget or trustees.

Several speakers voiced that sentiment Thursday night at an information meeting in Brookville attended by more than a dozen residents, none of whom spoke in favor of the plan.

There are 2,150 residents in portions of Brookville, Upper Brookville, Old Brookville, Matinecock and Muttontown not served by a library who are eligible to vote on forming a taxing district that would give them full access to services at a library in a neighboring community.

On the same ballot, they will be asked to vote on which library -- Locust Valley, Gold Coast in Glen Head or Oyster Bay-East Norwich -- would provide the service on a contract basis, initially for one year, if the referendum passes.

For a residential property with the average taxable assessment, the annual tax cost in 2014 for a contract with a library would be: Gold Coast, $243.70; Oyster Bay, $290.20, and Locust Valley, $460.20.

At the Thursday meeting, Tormey Santolli of Upper Brookville said: "There are people who don't want to pay. They don't use the library. We have no voting rights."

Jeffrey Thielen of Brookville said, "we are paying more" per capita than the residents of the library districts around them "and not having any say."

Jackie Thresher, director of the Nassau Library System, told them "that's the way the law reads."

The state does not allow residents in a library funding district to vote on budgets or library trustees. She added "it would require legislation" in Albany for the area in question to become part of a surrounding library district so residents could get voting privileges.

"It's working well in other places," Thresher said. She said the Oyster Bay Town Board can change the contract after the first year or let the funding mechanism lapse if residents do not like the arrangement.

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

Voting is scheduled for Tuesday at the Brookville Reformed Church, 2 Brookville Rd., from noon to 9 p.m.

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