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Branch library proposition will be on November ballot in Brasher

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BRASHER FALLS — Organizers of a petition drive to form a branch library in Brasher Falls have obtained enough signatures to put the proposition on the November ballot.

They needed 80 signatures — 10 percent of the Brasher residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election — to get the proposition on the ballot.

“They have beyond the 80. It’s nice to see that it will actually be on the ballot,” Massena Public Library Director Elaine Dunne-Thayer said.

Volunteers went door to door to collect signatures and held an open house and ice cream social to gather more.

The next step is to present the signatures to the Brasher town clerk for review and approval by the Town Council. The petition must have been signed and witnessed by registered Brasher voters.

The petition must be turned in to the county Board of Elections by mid-September to be included on the November ballot.

“Step one is complete. Now it goes to the people in Brasher. They all have a say in whether there is a branch in their town or not,” Ms. Dunne-Thayer said.

Plans to open a branch library were developed after a survey conducted several years ago by the Tri-Town Chamber of Commerce indicated a strong interest in having a library in Brasher. The Boothe Building in Brasher Falls is the proposed site.

The chamber sent out 6,000 surveys within a 10-mile radius several years ago and approximately 2,800 were returned. On the second page, residents were able to indicate what they would like to see in the town. A grocery store was at the top of the list, followed by a library. Thirty percent of the 2,800 respondents wrote in library.

In June, Massena Library trustees agreed to move ahead with the proposal. They’ve set a $56,000 annual budget that would be covered by Brasher residents through a tax.

The projected costs include $13,000 for a part-time manager’s salary and benefits. That person would be paid approximately $15.73 an hour for 15 hours a week. Other expenses include $10,000 for furniture, $12,500 for a starter collection, $3,600 for heat and lights, $5,400 for the technology and automation startup and rent at $400 a month for a five-year lease.

The proposal also includes $2,700 for an initial marketing campaign, which is being donated by the Friends of the Massena Public Library.

The cost for Brasher residents would be an additional 67 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The current tax rate in the town of Brasher, for town and highway expenses and chargebacks from the county, is $5.43 per $1,000 of assessed value.

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