After being given the option to reschedule its annual trustee and budget vote, the Comsewogue Public Library is asking residents to say “yes” to its $6,087,294 2020 budget, during a vote next Tuesday.
The over $6 million budget is a 1.46% increase from last year, and represents a $58,528 district-wide tax levy increase. This accoutns for a 2% tax levy increase over last year’s tax levy, below the New York State tax levy cap of 2.79%.
Of the total budget, the library estimates $2,981,394 is to be raised by district taxes. This accounts for an annual increase of approximately $6.65 to $10 for a home valued between $2,500 to $4,000, or 27 cents per $100 of the estimated assessed value of one’s home.
The proposed budget includes moderate increases to most budget areas including staff, library programming, library operations and administrative expenses. This year’s capital improvement bond debt service and building expenses decreased slightly from the previous year’s budget.
“The proposed budget ensures the continuation of the library’s high-quality service program, which continually adapts to community needs and interests,” said library Director Debbie Englehardt in an email.
At the same time as the budget vote, residents will also be asked to vote to reelect Corinne DeStefano to library trustee. She is running unopposed to retain her seat for a 5-year term on the library board. She is currently the library board president.
DeStefano is a lifelong Comsewogue resident, having grown up just a few blocks from the library, according to her Comsewogue library bio. She is married to Robert DeStefano, a Comsewogue school board trustee, and has two children, ages 11 and 7.
DeStefano is a software engineering manager at Broadcom, which makes products for the wireless and broadband communication industry. She is a “big fan of the library” who is “always looking for ways to serve the community.”
District residents should have already received a budget brochure in the mail in advance of the original April vote date. Residents should have also received a special library newsletter directing them to the website for more details.
Those interested in applying for an absentee ballot for the library budget vote and election should call 631-928-1212, extension 123, or visit cplib.org/budgetvote.
The vote for this year’s budget is scheduled for Sept. 15, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) allowed bodies like libraries to delay their budget votes from when they normally host it in April. Residents can vote at the library on Terryville Road in Port Jefferson Station from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Other Area Libraries
The Port Jefferson Free Library has already announced during July the library board voted to cancel the 2020-21 budget vote and maintain a 0% increase in operating budget from last year to this year. Library Director Tom Donlon said in the library’s fall newsletter that the library board “felt that with the current pandemic, high unemployment and staged tax increases due to LIPA, it would be unfair to our community to pursue an increase in taxes this year.”
The library director added the board feels the library can still meet the community’s needs without incurring additional expenses.
The library will host an election in January 2021 for three trustee seats. Two five-year terms are expiring along with an unexpired one-year term that is up for grabs. Applications will be available at the circulation desk starting Sept. 21.
The North Shore Public Library is also hosting a trustee election this year, where current trustee William Schiavo is running unopposed. The election is set for Tuesday, Sept. 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the North Shore Public Library next to the Shoreham-Wading River High School. People looking to apply for an absentee ballot can call 631-929-4488 or visit northshorepubliclibrary.org/absentee-ballot-application-and-procedure.