Opinion: Louisville councilman says now is not the time to expand Massena library
Friday, May 22, 2020 - 7:17 am

I am writing about the upcoming vote for the Massena Public Library. Although I feel that the Massena library provides good services for the community, now is not the time to be expanding services.

The library board wants to create sustained growth for the library and wants to start building a fund balance (savings account). The trouble is they haven’t seen a budget increase in some time.

That’s because the population and tax base in this region has steadily declined and increasing the library budget would have been foolish while asking other departments to stifle spending and save money.

So what did they do, they decided to just go grab some money from those people over there in Louisville, Norfolk and Brasher. Are there people in those towns that use the Massena Public Library? Sure, but instead of going to those town boards and discussing a modest increase in funding, they thought that creating a brand new taxing entity and reaching into your pocket was the easier way to go.

They’re selling this as a reduction in taxes for those in Massena, but will Massena residents really see a reduction in taxes? Doubt it. Sure, the Town of Massena, who contributes over $600,000 to the library in funding every year, just “found” an extra $600,000 that no longer has to go to the library.

Will they reduce the tax levy by $600K or just find somewhere else to spend it? Only time will tell. The library will now introduce Massena taxpayers to a brand new $490,000 tax bill.

If the Town of Massena does not reduce their tax levy by $600K, guess what Massena, your taxes just went up too.

Does anyone in the region really need another tax right now? Our older population will suffer the most. Many are on very tight fixed budgets and take advantage of the STAR program to offset some or all of the school taxes.

This new tax comes with no such safeguards. Pay it or face the same penalties and consequences as not paying your property taxes. Enough is enough. Vote no for the Massena Library tax.

Dan O’Keefe

Town of Louisville councilman