The Ogdensburg Public Library is seeking $75,000 in funding through a proposed referendum on the upcoming Ogdensburg School District ballot. New York State law allows public libraries to use their school district’s ballot to request funding from school district residents in the same way the school requests special funding.
This year, the City of Ogdensburg cut the library’s budget by $54,609, and by nearly $40,000 the prior year. For several years before this, the library’s budget has either been reduced or kept the same. As a result, the library has been forced to reduce or eliminate programs and services. With over 9,400 people that have library cards and over 53,000 visitors to the library last year, the referendum will allow us to maintain the current level of service.
The City of Ogdensburg has urged the Library Board to seek alternate sources of funding to cover this year’s cuts and to help with anticipated reductions next year. That is what we are doing in 2018, and we will continue to do in years when there are cuts. With the referendum, it is possible to be on the school ballot every year. The money the library seeks is independent of the school’s budget and will appear as a separate proposition on the school ballot.
We will be doing publicity over the next few weeks to educate those living in our service area about the impact of the referendum, and answer whatever questions people have prior to the budget vote. Please visit this page as we continue to update it to reflect questions we receive from our community.
What is the cost of this increase to tax payers?
The school ballot referendum allows us to seek funding from all property tax payers residing in the Ogdensburg City School District. This includes all of the City of Ogdensburg, some residents in the Town of Oswegatchie, and some residents in the Town of Lisbon.
Within the City of Ogdensburg, the average homeowner with a property valued at $65,000 will pay $13.05 to support the library. School District residents in the Town of Oswegatchie with a similarly valued property will also pay $13.05, while School District residents in the Town of Lisbon will pay $15.54. The different values are due to how property is assessed.
When and where is the vote on the Library’s Referendum?
The vote is Tuesday, May 15, 2018 between the hours of 12 pm and 9 pm. Voting is only going to be held at the Ogdensburg Free Academy Golden Dome this year.
Do other libraries receive funding through the school ballot?
Yes, obtaining local support using a school ballot referendum is common and provides stable funding independent of the municipality. School ballot funding makes up for more than 70 percent of local support for libraries in our neighboring school districts of Canton, Morristown, and Heuvelton.
Where can I obtain more information about the referendum?
Anyone with questions or comments should contact Penny Kerfien, Executive Director of the Ogdensburg Public Library. She may be reached at the library, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The public is also welcome to attend Library Board meetings. The Library Board meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 6:00 pm in the Library’s conference room.