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PLAN WILL FORCE VILLAGE TO HELP FUND LIBRARY

Town Councilman John Ceretto believes the Lewiston Library Board finally has found a way to end three years of fighting between the town and village boards over library funding.

Ceretto told Town Board members Monday that the Library Board plans to force village taxpayers to pay a share of its budget -- $90,000, or 25 percent of the total budget, and has a contract to prove its point and its own lawyer to take the issue to the courts if necessary.

Since the inception of the library, which is in the village, town taxpayers outside of the village have fully funded it. But as Modern Landfill funds being used to pay those costs dried up, the town asked the Village Board to share the cost.

The battle went on for three years, including a failed vote last year that was intended to establish a joint town/village-funded library.

"This is a major step. The Library Board went to the state and found it doesn't matter who pays, the funding is based on population, 75 percent (town) and 25 percent (village). A letter has been sent to the village. I feel comfortable with the split. Hopefully, once and for all, we can move forward," Ceretto said.

Supervisor Fred Newlin said this decision supports what town lawyers said last year.

"Obviously they can finally understand they have an obligation to support the library. We tried to negotiate before, and (the village) said, 'No. We like paying zero,' " Councilman D. James Langlois said.

Langlois said he would like to ensure that the village includes funding for its share of library costs in its upcoming budget before the town adopts its budget at the end of the year.

Currently, the town is paying $290,000 of the library's requested $360,000 budget, which has led to shorter hours, less materials and less staffing.

In another matter, the referendum on a bond issue to fund a town golf course is still scheduled for June 14.

Old Creek Links, a multimillion-dollar, 18-hole course planned for 200 acres of land bounded by RobertMoses Parkway, Pletcher and Creek roads, needs voter approval to move forward.

Ceretto said the next Golf Course Committee meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall will discuss the bonding and how the course is expected to be a revenue maker for the town and not a burden to taxpayers.

It was suggested that there be five polling sites for the vote: the Sanborn fire hall, the village fire hall, the Red Brick School, Town Hall and the Upper Mountain Road fire hall, with voting from noon to 9 p.m.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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