Posted at: 03/26/2013 2:03 PM
Updated at: 03/27/2013 9:58 AM
By: Lia Lando
Are tax dollars being appropriately spent for a new library in Irondequoit? A public hearing was packed Tuesday as the town explained its plans to build the $13 million library next to the town hall.
Taxpayers would see an increase of about $29 dollars per year for the average $100,000 home, that equals a little more that $2 a month.
Right now, there are two libraries in Irondequoit, one on the east side and one on the west. The town says the current situation is not working. The buildings are too old and not big enough. But those against the new library say the town doesn't need that much space.
Andy Hildreth said, “i'm still not 100% sold on it. I'd like to do a little more homework.”
Andy Hildreth has lived in Irondequoit for almost 18 years. And he was just one of dozens at Tuesday afternoon's public hearing about Irondequoit's idea for a new library. Right now, the town has one library at Cooper Road and Titus Avenue, the other on East Ridge Road. The idea is to combine them into one large library.
Stephanie Squiccinarini, President of Irondequoit Library Board, said, “By centralizing into one facility, we avoid duplication, duplication of materials. We can reallocate funds we've been spending on duplicating materials on other materials and add services.”
Jim O'Leary said, “I live a mile from the one in West Irondequoit and I go there all the time and get what I want.”
Jim O'Leary says he likes the current set up, but after Tuesday's meeting can see why the new library might be a good idea.
O'Leary said, “I don't think their supply of digital books is adequate. There are very few books that you can take out on that overdrive system.”
Hildreth says while adding $29 a year per taxpayer may not seem like a lot, it is to him.
Hildreth said, “There are a lot of us, myself included, who haven't gotten raises in two, three, four years or even more.”
So why not keep the existing libraries and upgrade them?
Hildreth said, “The buildings themselves need many millions of dollars in repair and expansion. We've studied all those options, all the other options have a price tag also. We feel this option in the best use of our tax dollars.”
Hildreth's other concern is the relevance of libraries.
Hildreth said, “With smart phones and the technology we have available at our finger tips, they just are not as necessary as they use to be.”
Squiccinarini said, “We envision a library, where yes, we may need less space for books, but we do need more space for that community gathering place, comfortable seating. A place for the self employees to be, where groups of students can study together, right now we don't have that.”
The vote on the new library proposal will be April 23. There will also be one more public hearing before then on Wednesday April 10.
Irondequoit residents can get the latest news and information, including their polling places at www.libraryproposal.com.