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OLEAN LIBRARY SEEKS SPENDING HIKE

Residents will be asked to vote May 3 on the Olean Public Library Board's request for a $25,225 increase in its real property tax appropriation, collected each year by the Olean City School District.

The 2.9 percent increase in spending would buy new books and other library material and be used to offset increasing insurance, energy and building maintenance costs, said library Director Lance Chaffee, speaking during a public hearing held last week.

Olean's library generates a salary for a reference librarian, creates a central resource for smaller rural libraries, and it brings in extra state funding through shared programs with a Chautauqua County library. It also is considered a funding model, requiring the support of community voters, which is encouraged by state authorities.

But, Chaffee said, though state aid was increased slightly this year, reductions in previous years were not completely restored in the state budget just passed.

"Erie County isn't the only place that has problems with library funding, but Olean has always supported its library and we hope that will continue in this referendum," Chaffee said.

If school district residents approve the proposition, the school district's library appropriation will increase from $857,488 to $882,713, boosting the tax rate in the city by 53 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. A small group of residents located in the town of Olean and Portville will pay an additional 4 cents.

There are no planned program increases or capital projects under the proposed 2005-06 budget of $1,061,753.

The ballot includes the unopposed candidacy of library trustee Earl McElfresh, who is seeking his second term.

To obtain an absentee ballot, call the library at 372-0200. A polling place will be open at the library, 134 N. Second St., from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 3.

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