Despite a 9.26 percent increase from last year’s approved spending plan, the proposed budget for the John Jermain Memorial Library passed with an overwhelming majority of 173 in favor with 33 voting against the budget. Two-hundred-and-six voters turned out for the Sag Harbor School District-wide budget vote and trustee election.
According to Library Director Catherine Creedon, 183 residents in the district voted at the library on Tuesday, with 23 absentee ballots cast. Unlike last year, which boasted a successful write-in campaign for Kate Evarts, there were no write-in votes this election cycle.
This year’s budget was proposed at $989,580, and according to Creedon, the passage of the spending plan enables the library to write items back in the budget previously covered by a bequest. Spending on children’s books and computers will now be covered in the library’s budget. The passage of the budget will also allow the library to expand some staff hours.
“I am very pleased,” said Creedon on Wednesday. “It allows us to really move forward with the current level of services and expand.”
After last week’s announcement that current trustee and candidate Susan Merrell wished to throw her support towards the remaining three candidates in the race for three trustee seats, a majority of voters acquiesced. Merrell received the least amount of votes in the contest with 109. Current library board president Christiane Neuville received the most votes of any candidate with 159 in her favor, followed by current trustee Theresa “Tippy” Ameres with 148 votes. Architect Craig Rhodes, who was born in Sag Harbor and recently moved back to the area, won 139 to secure his seat on the board. All three terms are for three years.
Merrell is leaving the board, she announced last week, only because of professional and personal commitments and intends to continue fundraising efforts on behalf of the library. She also does not rule out running for the board again in the future.
“I will really miss her,” said Creedon of Merrell, who will fulfill the rest of her term which runs through the end of December. “But I am excited we are moving forward with three committed candidates, I mean, trustees.”
Had Merrell been re-elected despite her wish to see fellow candidates succeed, the board would have had to contend with how to deal with replacing not just one, but two trustees in the coming year.
Earlier this summer, Evarts announced she would no longer be able to serve on the board, citing professional reasons. Evarts was elected to fill the remainder of Deborah Wilson’s unexpired term with 59 write-in votes last year. According to Creedon, the board can choose to not act on Evarts’ seat and instead wait until elections are held in September of next year. They can also hold a special election in two months or appoint a new trustee to fulfill the remaining term. Evarts’ term was due to run through December 2009.
In other board news, according to Creedon, the board will look to host a community forum with architects Herbert S. Newman Partners, the Connecticut-based firm the board has enlisted to help design an expansion for the library. The forum is expected in mid-October with a formal date to be announced in coming weeks, said Creedon.Â