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Dunkirk School District referendum Tuesday will decide whether library will get power to assess tax

DUNKIRK – A referendum Tuesday will give residents of the city School District the chance to decide whether the Dunkirk Free Library will become a publicly funded lending facility with the power to assess a tax. Currently, the library is funded through donations.

The vote will take place from noon to 9 p.m. at the library on Central Avenue.

School Board members originally planned to have a separate proposition on the May 19 ballot that would permit a special tax to be collected to support the library. They had been petitioned by the library’s board to let residents vote on a levy of $350,000 to be billed to property owners with the school tax bill.

But at a special meeting held in the school administration building in April, board members voted unanimously to hold Tuesday’s special election instead.

The election will be open to all residents of the School District. This includes the city and areas within the towns of Dunkirk and Sheridan.

The proposition will ask voters to decide on the annual budget of $350,000 and for the library to have a board of five trustees who will be elected. The current operating budget is $218,000, according to the library’s website. Funds have been collected through public and private donations.

If approved, the new status would let residents have a say on the budget and choose trustees.

The election of trustees, for three-year terms, includes four candidates: Lisa Forbes, Nancy Tuggle, Lenore Fiebelkorn and Jim Palmatier. Voters also have the option of making write-in choices.