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VOTERS REJECT SPECIAL LIBRARY DISTRICT

Residents voted, 807-384, Tuesday to defeat a plan to establish a special district library.

The plan would have created a special district tax paid by residents of the town and village who use the library.

The library would have used proceeds from the special district to fund its annual budget of $350,000, therefore no longer having to rely on funding from the town or village governments.

Voter turnout Tuesday was heavy, with long lines snaking around the library and cars jamming the parking lot and nearby streets.

In a separate vote, library board President Robert Presutti emerged as the top vote-getter for a seat on a new library board that would have governed had the special district plan been embraced by voters. Fourteen residents ran for seven board seats.

The current board, in which members are appointed by the town and village, will remain in place.

"We anticipated this outcome, given the opposition generated and given the financial situation of this area," Presutti said following the defeat. "People are reluctant when they hear the word tax. I didn't anticipate an easy sale, but when I saw the turnout I said, "That's it -- libraries are not considered an essential service by the community."

"Now we are right back where we started from. I personally feel we're just going to sit on this (plan to establish a district library) for a few years. This took too much effort," he added.

Town Councilman Daniel Kilmer, who also ran for a seat on the district library board, opposed the special district.

"Now (the current library board) will have to respect the Town Board and give us a budget," he said. "We've asked them to work with us and to put pressure on the Village Board to (financially) support the library. We are not just a cash cow."

Town Supervisor Fred Newlin said fund balance money probably would be used to fund the library but noted no formal request for funding had been submitted.

The board discussed $300,000 for library operations a few weeks ago, but currently, library operations are not part of the town's 2005 budget.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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