Referendum will appear on May ballot
By Chip Rowe
The Desmond-Fish Library will ask Garrison residents on May 21 to approve a 300 percent increase in the revenue generated by the local library tax, from $75,000 annually to $300,000.
If the referendum is approved, the owner of a Garrison home assessed at $300,000 would see his or her annual tax increase from $51 (17 cents per $1,000 of assessed value) to $192 (64 cents per $1,000).
The vote will take place at the Garrison School on the same ballot as the district budget and trustee vote; a ballot initiative in 2014 to establish the tax passed 314-182. As Philipstown residents, Garrison homeowners also pay a tax of 27 cents per $1,000 to the Butterfield Library in Cold Spring.
“Our request grows out of our long-range planning work,” said Anita Prentice, president of the Desmond-Fish board, in a statement. “We have relied on fundraising, grants and income from our endowment, and we’ve been very fortunate to have some generous individual supporters. But to provide the public services that are our mission, we need the stability that will come from the widespread support of the community.”
The library noted that an additional $225,000 annually from taxpayers would increase the percentage of public support in its $678,000 budget from 20 percent to 45 percent. It said other libraries in the Mid-Hudson Library System average 78 percent public support.
Prentice said the library recently added the word public to its name to emphasis its mission. (The official name remains the Alice Curtis Desmond and Hamilton Fish Library.) Arthur Ross, second vice president of the board, said in a statement that “we are confident that we will not need to turn again to the taxpayers for the foreseeable future.”
The Desmond-Fish will hold three information sessions at the library in April and two in May on the referendum, with the first scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 13. It also has posted information at dfplpublicsupport.org.