Voters in one Rensselaer County town are at the polls today deciding on the public library budget and picking two trustees.
Voters in East Greenbush are considering a proposed 2021 public library budget of $2.067 million, a 3.2 percent decrease from the current budget.
Jill Dugas Hughes is director of the East Greenbush Community Library.
“It's a total income loss of $68,967. Which is essentially going to result in a flat library tax for the community. So the budget increase to the taxpayers is $1000. If the budget were to be voted down, then we would revert back to the previous year's tax levy."
Coronavirus contributed to the loss. Hughes explains that like other libraries, East Greenbush has had to accommodate restrictions triggered by the pandemic, which for the time being have loosened.
"We are very lucky in East Greenbush, that when the building was built 20 years ago, the library building committee and board at that time had the foresight to put in a drive-through window. What that means for us is that I don't anticipate us needing to shut down at all, now that we've been through this one, and we know how to do this safely. I think that we can lend materials throughout the entire... um, even if we were to have another, second wave."
Hughes says four candidates are running for two trustee positions. Trustees are community members elected to provide oversight over the library.
"The second proposition on the ballot is for two five-year trustee positions. And we had a wonderful turnout this year of four interested very-qualified candidates."
The candidates participated in a September 3rd virtual forum. One of the questions they were asked is "what library services and resources do you feel are of the greatest priority?
Charlie Pensabene: "I think the children's programming and the adult life skill like the tax assistance and the legal clinic... I think that focusing on a messaging and library card registration is gonna draw in additional community members and that'll help them see the high-quality programming that the library regularly offers."
Lewis Dubuque: "Computers and wi-fi that are provided to the community, as well as the library's meeting rooms which allows groups to use them at no cost. On a personal level I'm also a big fan of the Academy Award movie-screenings that the library puts on. And our kids always took part in the springtime and summer reading program."
Camille Engel: "The technology that's available to everyone that walks through the doors. It's just invaluable... The resources there. Newspapers, magazines, things that people don't get for themselves."
Michael Thoma: "It is good to see the other candidates all saying kind of the same thing. Because we're in the library, we see the library is the thing. I like all of it."
Trustee terms begin on January 1st.
Polls are open – at the library -until 9 p.m.