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Mar 27, 2017 5:17 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Library $9.9 Million Bond Referendum Vote Scheduled For Tuesday, April 4

The Hamptons Bays Library bond vote will be on Tuesday, April 4.  DANA SHAW
Mar 28, 2017 12:07 PM

Hampton Bays taxpayers will be hitting the polls on Tuesday, April 4, to vote on a referendum for a $9.9 million bond that, if approved, would finance the complete gutting and renovation of the hamlet’s library.

The polls will be open from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. in the main program room of the Hampton Bays Public Library, located on Ponquogue Avenue. Only registered library district taxpayers can cast ballots.

The proposed work calls for creating a completely new floor plan for the 20,000-square-foot single story library, as well as replacing its roof, adding insulation throughout the building, and installing an energy-efficient heating and cooling system. The bond would also fund the creation of a new floor plan, and calls for the finishing of basement space so it can house some library operations.

Included in the projected costs is the proposed purchase of an adjoining half-acre lot at 3 Argonne Road for $390,000 and using the land to provide a few dozen additional parking spaces for patrons.

After the vote was postponed on March 14 due to inclement weather, library officials scheduled two informational meetings to discuss their renovation plans; they previously stated that the work would likely be financed with a 30-year bond, though they have stressed that those terms are not finalized and subject to change.

The first of two additional informational meetings, scheduled after the vote postponement, was held this past Sunday, though Hampton Bays Library Director Susan LaVista said on Monday that only a few people attended. Attendance could have been light because the meeting conflicted with the wake of longtime Hampton Bays firefighter Gerard Buckley, who died of a heart attack last week.

“It was an unfortunately small attendance, but we suspect it was possibly because there was a death in the community and the attendance at the wake was extremely large,” Ms. LaVista said.

She added that she hopes more people turn out for the second meeting that runs from 7 to 9 p.m. this Thursday, March 30. It will also be held in the library’s main programming room.

“I think that we’ve done the best job we can getting the information out,” Ms. LaVista said on Monday. “Having the extra two weeks’ time as the result of the storm allowed us to have extra meetings, which, again, we hope will help people make an informed decision.”

If the bond is ultimately approved, the library tax rate is expected to climb about 18 cents, to approximately 77 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, an estimated 30-percent increase. Therefore, a taxpayer with a house assessed at $350,000 and now paying about $201 in library taxes can expect to pay an additional $64 a year in library taxes for the length of the bond to finance the work.

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Future tax burdens of Hampton Bays residents were never considered by the Library Board. $265 per year for 20+ years not including incremental increases to the tax levy is insane. This is almost as much as what we pay for Town Police. No justification for a 9.9 million increase. We must continue to stay united against this abuse of taxation. Treat the residents of Hampton Bays with more respect. We are not fools! STOP!!

By highhat2017 (2), Hampton Bays on Mar 28, 17 9:13 AM
No competitive bids? Sandpebble still trying to squeeze more money out of the Easthampton Town taxpayers and yet LaVista is insistent on using Sandpebble without bidding. Did LaVista employ Sandpebble for a prior taxpayer funded project? If so, an investigation should be conducted regarding the relationship and prior business dealings between LaVista and Sandpebble.
By P. Revere (152), hampton Bays on Mar 28, 17 4:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
Did Sandpebble do the reno 15 years ago, which we still have to pay off, which left us with a roof that rotted (or collapsed?) no insulation and a outdated heating/cooling system? I can not imagine that there was no insulation installed 15 years ago. That just seems absurd and if it is an example of how astute the Library Board is about building, it is very frightening.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Apr 2, 17 8:55 PM