The Bayport-Blue Point Library will have a budget vote on Tuesday, April 4, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. An informational meeting took place on Wednesday, March 22.
This is the second time in the last five years that the library has put forth a budget (there was no budget increase in 2019, 2020, or 2021).
“During the pandemic, we kept to our original budget,” said director, Mike Firestone.
The proposed 2023-2024 budget is for a total expenditure of $3,861,412, which is an increase of $86,412, or 2.29 percent, which maintains the library’s budget spending within state tax gap guidelines during this period of high inflation.
The budget vote will appear as Proposition 1.
The additional expenditures were added to budgets for salaries (approximately $49,000 increase), employee benefits (approximately $41,000 increase), the latter of which involved costs to health insurance and pension/retirement accounts that were mandated by the state.
“Additional funding for program expenditures are being completed through private funding,” said Firestone of the financing for expanded usage of the library’s services and grounds.
Firestone said he was “thankful for the public” and that usage of the library had been “through the roof” with over 150,000 visitors to the library in its first 14 months of opening.
“The requests for more public meeting space for the new library were met and our calendar is full every month,” said Firestone.
There are a number of meeting rooms in the BBP library with the largest being the main meeting room that can accommodate 100 people (or be divided in two separate spaces of 50). There are five, private study rooms that can each accommodate small groups of four to eight.
The conference room, which doubles as a business center as it contains a scanner, copier, Zoom-ready computer, and conference phone, has been incredibly popular for community members who have been working from home since the pandemic.
“With so many more people working remotely, the conference room has been booked regularly because not everyone can maintain their mental wellness working from their home,” said Firestone, and added, “We have really stepped up in helping community members who work remotely have an office set up accessible.”
The maker’s space has even been utilized as a meeting room on tightly scheduled days (of which, Firestone said is a normal occurrence) as it can host 15 to 20 people.
“It is intense, but it is so rewarding seeing the community, from early toddlers to senior citizens, get to utilize our space and our resources,” said Firestone.
The additional two propositions on file both relate to the former library building on Blue Point Avenue.
Proposition II will authorize a property easement of 13 parking spaces adjacent to the Blue Point Fire Department’s facility in favor of the Blue Point Fire District.
“When the library was located at 203 Blue Point Avenue, we typically let the fire department use our parking spaces when they had large events, or especially in times of emergency when apparatuses needed to be moved,” said Firestone. “This proposition is to maintain that relationship with the fire department after the building is sold.”
Proposition III will authorize the Bayport-Blue Point School District, which currently owns the building at 203 Blue Point Avenue, to convey the title of the old library building to the library district, which will approve a property sale with the proceeds to be used to pay toward the debt service on the 2018 bond issue.
“We have had a few interested parties in the building, mostly for office space. The character of the community will be preserved,” said Firestone.
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