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Voters reject district, tax for library

A disappointed staff at the Prendergast Library went back to work Wednesday, a day after voters overwhelmingly agreed that they didn't need a new tax to fund the facility.

The measure was defeated 1,370-903.

"Of course the staff and I are very disappointed, but this is how democracy works, and we go forward from here," said Catharine Way, library director.

"I think the anti-tax sentiment was loudly expressed," she said. "Nobody during this process has expressed any dislike for the library. Everybody says they love the library, but I think people are fed up with their taxes."

The proposition on Tuesday's ballot asked voters to establish the Jamestown Prendergast Public Library District and approve an annual tax levy of $560,000. That would have cost the average homeowner in the Jamestown School District about $38 per year. The district's boundaries would have encompassed the Jamestown School District and a section of the Southwestern Central School District within the Town of Ellicott, including West Ellicott and Celoron.

Ellicott Supervisor Pat Tyler and the rest of his board had encouraged residents to vote against the proposal.

Failure of the proposition, they argued, would reopen talks on the library tax. Ellicott officials had contended that the library overstepped its boundaries by seeking to establish a library district.

The library board, Way said, will determine what happens next.

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