MASSENA - Petitions with 85 signatures of Brasher residents who say they want a branch library were turned in to the Brasher town clerk on Wednesday, and members of the Massena Public Librarys Board of Trustees and representatives of the North Country Library System plan to be at todays Brasher Town Board meeting to show their suppport for the facility.
Others who support the proposal are, including volunteers who took part in the petition process, are also expected to be at the meeting, according to Leslie Gardner, a marketing consultant who is working with the Massena Public Library and North Country Library officials on the initiative. She planned to update a Books for Brasher Facebook page to encourage supporters to attend the 4:30 p.m. meeting today.
A resolution to accompany the new round of signatures had been approved by the librarys Board of Trustees during a special meeting on Monday, and Ms. Gardner told board members during their regular meeting Tuesday night that she had been advised the librarys proposal would be on the agenda.
Ellen (Fukes, town clerk) said she wanted to get them in time to put it on the agenda, NCLS consultant Emily Owen said.
Well go tomorrow. Thats all we can do, Ms. Gardner said. I think the positives outweigh the negatives.
Brasher Town Board members must approve the petitions, which must be received at the St. Lawrence County Board of Elections by Sept. 20 to be included on the November ballot.
Massena Public Library officials are seeking to set up a branch library in Crapser Hall, located in the former Booth Building, in downtown Brasher Falls. Theyre asking residents to support the initiative, which would come with a $56,000 annual budget.
They had previously turned in 11 pages with 130 signatures, but indicated on their resolution to Brasher officials that 89 residents were from the town of Brasher. After Roger A. Linden, attorney for the town of Brasher questioned the validity of many of the signatures, volunteers began the entire process again.
They needed to obtain 80 signatures, or 10 percent of the registered voters in Brasher who had voted in the last gubernatorial election.
Ms. Gardner said volunteer Michele Ellis-Porcaro had spearheaded both efforts to get signature and deserved credit for taking that responsibility on.
Michele really is the one to thank. She did this twice, she said.
At this point, its a matter of waiting for the Brasher Town Board to approve the petitions and getting them to the Board of Elections before the Sept. 20 deadline. Then, Brasher voters would have the final say when they head to the polls in November.
Library officials say they dont know which way the vote will go, but there will be no hard feelings if it doesnt pass. They have said that they were asked to take on the initiative at the request of Brasher residents.
I think, from my standpoint, there are no hard feelings. We welcome them to our library, library Director Elaine Dunne-Thayer said, noting those residents were already considered part of the Massena Public Library even without a branch library of their own.
Its an opportunity to highlight our library and our services, she said.
Library officials say that, by their calculations, the $56,000 annual budget would translate to 67 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of $67 for the owner of a home assessed at $100,000.
Brasher Town Supervisor M. James Dawson said, based on the town raising $385,014 in taxes for their highway and general fund, the increase would be approximately 14.5 percent.