Library Voters to Elect Trustees, Consider Budgets this Month

John Jermain Memorial Library Sag Harbor
The John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor. Michael Heller photo

John Jermain Memorial Library Sag Harbor

By Stephen J. Kotz

Sag Harbor voters will get to choose from among five candidates seeking three openings on the John Jermain Memorial Library’s board of trustees as well as weigh in on a $1.79 million operating budget that calls for a 3.8-percent spending increase on September 28.

Four candidates, three of them incumbents, are seeking election to four seats on the board of the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton on September 23, where taxes will be slashed by 22 percent now that debt service for the library’s 2009 renovation project has been retired.

Officials for both libraries will be available to answer questions at budget hearings scheduled for September 20 at 3:30 p.m. in Bridgehampton and at 5:15 p.m. in Sag Harbor.

Ann Sutphen, who is currently the vice president of the library board in Sag Harbor, is the only incumbent seeking re-election to a three-year term. Two long-time board members, Ann Lieber and Jacqueline Brody, have reached their term limits and will not be eligible to run again.

Newcomers Gloria Brown, Carol Hance, Bill McCoy and Janine M. Rayano will join Ms. Sutphen on the ballot for the three board openings.

There are eight members on the Sag Harbor library board, a number that was reduced from nine last fall with the resignation of Amy Rhodes, who moved to New York City. After her resignation, the board, which had increased its size during the renovation project, voted to remain at eight members.

According to library director Catherine Creedon, voters will also be asked to approve an operating budget of $1,792,315, which carries a 3.8-percent spending increase, in addition to the $905,000 in debt service approved by voters in 2009.

Voting takes place at the library from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 28, and is open to registered voters living in the Sag Harbor School District.

In Bridgehampton, there are four openings on the library’s nine-member board, all of whom represent Bridgehampton.

Board President Dr. Louise Collins is seeking her third three-year term; treasurer Jackie Poole, a second-grade teacher at the Bridgehampton School, is seeking her fourth, and final term; and Trustee John Vendetti is seeking his second term. Joining them on the ballot will be newcomer Mbachi Kumwenda, a teacher at the Hayground School.

The board’s current vice president, Tom House, a Bridgehampton High School English teacher, who is moving out of the district, is not running again.

While the Hampton Library’s operating budget will grow by 16.5 percent, from $1,126,700 to $1,312,900, taxes are projected to decline by 22 percent because the library will no longer be paying the loan for its expansion project, which began in 2007 and was completed in 2009. That will eliminate a $560,000 line item that has been in the budget for the past decade.

Library director Kelly Harris said the operating budget is going up because the library is increasing programming, earmarking funds for anticipated increased maintenance costs, raising salaries for support staff members and a realigning staff, which will result in the elimination of three part-time positions, but the addition of two new full-time librarians.

Voting takes place at the library from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Registered voters living in both the Bridgehampton and Sagaponack school districts will be eligible to vote on the budget, but only registered voters living in Bridgehampton will be eligible to vote for the trustees because none of the three trustees representing Sagaponack, Harvey Loomis, Sarah Stenn and Thomas White, are up for election.