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Ossining Library Budget, Trustee Vote Tuesday

OSSINING, N.Y. — Voters will decide on the Ossining Public Library’s “two more hours for two more dollars” budget proposal and elect the library’s new board members Tuesday. Voting takes place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Ossining High School gym.

The board unanimously agreed earlier this year to a budget proposal increase to $3,651,479, from the previous budget of $3,622,016. There are five candidates vying for three spots on the library’s Board of Trustees. Voters will decide between candidates Alice Joselow, Allyn G. Heald, current board President Art Jay, Lucinda Manning and Madeline Zachacz.

Because of extenuating circumstances related to retirement costs, the board is allowed a tax levy increase higher than the 2 percent cap. The board is proposing a 2.26 percent increase, which translates to an average per-capita increase of $2.32. If the budget is approved, board members say it will allow the library to stay open for two more hours every week. If the budget is not approved, board members have stated previously that they would most likely need to cut staff and program positions.

The Ossining Public Library serves 34,230 residents in the Ossining Union Free School District in the Town and Village of Ossining, Briarcliff Manor and Yorktown. While residents in Briarcliff Manor and Yorktown are still double-taxed for libraries and will see differences, the average annual per-capita cost would be $105.21, up from $102.89 this year.

“So what we’re saying is it’s about two more dollars for two more hours,” Library Director Jim Farrell said previously, adding that he was thankful the proposal increased operating hours after the board elected to slash 14 hours last year. “It was devastating for us last year to cut those hours. And we know it was devastating to the community. Increased hours is something a lot of people have asked for, and this budget proposal gives them that.”

Farrell said the board is also proposing budget cuts using a new health care provider and cuts throughout the library, including slashing the $10,000 program budget in half.

“We’re letting residents know that we’re tightening the belt but our revenues are decreasing as well,” Farrell said. “The cuts are very tough and we’re still juggling the possibility of making additional cuts in the future.”

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