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Massive turnout for New Hartford Library vote
NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - Voter turnout at the New Hartford Public Library vote Thursday was so heavy that several people were needed to direct traffic in the library parking lot.
Voters are being asked to decide whether to keep the library municipal, or make it a school district library. Library Board of Trustees President Linda Romano says the move would stabilize library funding, eliminating the uncertainty of being an ever-shrinking line item in the town budget, at the mercy of tough economic times.
"The school district runs the election and the school district collects the taxes and turns it over to the library. They're not involved whatsoever in the operation of the library," says Romano.
Romano says one change people could see is the restoration of hours the library has had to cut because of funding cuts in recent years.
"What this will do is we will re open on Wednesdays, we will open more hours a day and provide the services that this community has asked for."
The re-charter would come with a tax increase for those in the school district. Romano says it would amount to around $.11 a day, or around $42 a month for the average taxpayer.
For some, that was the aspect that made them vote, 'no'.
"It was a pretty big jump in the budget all at once. The concept was good but they're going to raise taxes quite a bit," says voter Jack Dale.
Others said the increase was worth what they get in return.
"I think it's a focal point of the community and I want to see it continue in a positive direction with funding that's a little more continuous," says Jessica McNair.
Voters are also being asked for the first time to elect seven trustees; up to now, the town appointed them. Fourteen candidates are vying for seven trustee seats. Polls close at 8 p.m.