Voters Approve John Jermain Library Budget

John Jermain Memorial Library Sag Harbor
The John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor. Michael Heller photo
John Jermain Memorial Library Sag Harbor
Voters in the Sag Harbor School District on Thursday approved the John Jermain Memorial Library’s 2018 budget. Michael Heller photo

By Christine Sampson

Voters in the Sag Harbor School District on Thursday approved the John Jermain Memorial Library’s 2018 budget, a $2.697 million spending plan that carries the lowest dollar-amount increase in the library tax levy in five years.

The budget passed with a margin of 233 “yes” votes to 27 “no” votes.

Voters also elected three new representatives to seats on the library’s Board of Trustees. Gloria Primm Brown was elected with 171 votes, Carol Hance with 146 and William McCoy with 136. Ann Sutphen, the lone incumbent trustee seeking reelection, received 129 votes, and Janine Rayano received 102.

After the results were in, library director Catherine Creedon thanked the community.

“I’m really grateful to the community for their continued support,” she said by phone. “It was a moving day as patrons came in to vote, then stayed to ask about a book, enjoy the garden or take part in a program. It really felt like a community library in the best possible way.”

The library’s $2,697,315 budget for 2018 is 3.8 percent higher, or $101,246 more than the current year’s budget. It is the lowest dollar-amount increase since 2013, when the library budget jumped by about $62,300. The increase next year is still considered to be under the New York State tax levy cap due to adjustments for allowable transfers and exclusions within the library budget.

Library taxes are expected to rise by about $10 next year for the average homeowner.

“We made a real effort to work within the tax cap in part as a show of gratitude and in recognition that some of the demographics are changing in Sag Harbor,” Ms. Creedon said.

The budget contains funding for increased employee salaries and benefits, and less spending on administrative costs, according to the budget newsletter. Increased insurance and utility costs also led to budget increases. The budget also includes $905,000 toward the debt service amassed during the renovation and expansion of the library.