Library Tax Levy Ballot Proposition
When voters go to the polls to elect school board members and to vote on the Skaneateles School District budget, they will also be asked to vote on a proposed tax levy increase for the Skaneateles Library. The school district and library budgets are separate and unrelated; however, state law provides libraries the ability to receive support from their local communities by placing a funding proposition on a school district ballot.
The library’s ballot proposition asks for a 4 percent increase to the annual tax levy, which is the first proposed increase since the library started receiving public funds in 2016. Before voters approved the annual levy in 2016, Skaneateles was one of only two libraries in the state that did not receive any public funds.
If the proposed 4 percent increase is approved, the library’s annual levy would increase from $350,000 to $364,000. A homeowner with a house assessed at $200,000 would see an annual increase of $1.48. Someone with a home assessed at $400,000 would see an increase of $2.96 per year.
Please contact library director Nickie Marquis at 315-685-5135 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or information needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the library asking the community to decide in the ballot proposition?
The Skaneateles Library Association is requesting a 4% increase in public funding for its operational budget to offset increases in expenses. The requested increase in dollars is $14,000, raising the current $350,000 annual levy to $364,000. These funds will help support library operations and are not for use in capital projects.
Why is the library asking for an increase now?
In the six years since the current levy was passed, the library has covered increased operating expenses using income from investments, proceeds from its annual book sale, donations and grants. Starting in 2019, the library board of trustees has reviewed annually the potential need for an increase in public funding. Due to the pandemic, an increase request for the current fiscal year was not recommended.
What will the increase mean for me?
How much each household contributes to the library’s tax levy is based on assessed property value. The following table illustrates what a 4% increase would mean for a range of property values, as well as the new annual totals for these properties. The average and median property values in the school district are $348,932 and $225,000, respectively.
|Town of Skaneateles*
Assessed Property Value
|Current library levy||$37.06||$74.12||$148.24|
|Increase per household||$1.48||$2.96||$5.92|
|Total per property with 4% increase||$38.54||$77.08||$154.16|
* Values vary slightly but are very similar for the municipalities of Owasco, Spafford, Skaneateles Falls and Sennett—portions of which are also in the Skaneateles School District.
How is the library funded?
The library receives an annual levy of $350,000 from taxpayers in the Skaneateles Central School District. In addition to public support, the library relies on income from investments, fundraising, donations and grants to meet our community’s needs.
In 2016, the library requested local public funding for the first time in its history. School district residents approved the library’s request to provide an annual levy of $350,000. At the time, we were one of only two libraries in New York State that did not receive local public funding.
How is the library governed?
The Skaneateles Library is an association library incorporated on October 20, 1877 and first chartered by the New York State Education Department on April 20, 2009.
There are four types of libraries in New York (association, municipal, school district and special district libraries). Library type depends on how the library was established, which in turn dictates how it is governed and able to raise funds.
The library board is composed of community members who volunteer their time and skills to ensure the future of the library. The main functions of the board are to set library policies, maintain the financial health of the library and uphold the library’s mission.
Why is there a question about library funding with the school district budget vote? Does the library levy affect the school’s budget?
The library’s proposition is unrelated to the school budget. New York State allows association libraries to ask residents of a school district or municipality for funding by ballot proposition, which is approved by majority vote. This method gives residents a direct say in the level of funding their local library receives.
The library budget is completely separate from the school budget. The district merely collects funds approved by the voters and disburses them to the library. School taxes fund the schools, and library taxes fund the library. School and library taxes appear on the same bill and are paid at the same time, but the school district and the library are two separate entities.
What will happen if the vote doesn’t pass?
If the proposition is not approved, the library will continue to receive an annual levy of $350,000, which is the amount last approved by voters. That amount will be collected annually until a new proposition receives voter approval.
Skaneateles Library joined the Onondaga County Public Library System in 2009. Doesn’t OCPL pay for the library now?
No. In fact, the Skaneateles Library pays OCPL for services, such as the circulation system, online catalog and materials delivery. Each library in the system is its own entity, and its local community is responsible for financial support. Neither OCPL nor the county government fund libraries outside the city of Syracuse.
Who uses the library?
We have just over 5,500 cardholders and serve a population of 9,000 school district residents. Find our latest report on how our community uses the library, as well as a breakdown of our current budget, here.
Will additional library tax requests be made in the future?
It is likely that levy increases will be requested in the future to support cost increases. Things like minimum wage and payroll, insurance, utilities and materials will inevitably cost more over time. Many libraries request small “cost-of-living” increases annually or bi-annually to ensure financial sustainability and continuity of service. However, any future request must be approved by voters.
Is the library subject to the tax cap?
Yes. The tax cap limits annual levy growth to the lesser of 2% or the rate of inflation, subject to certain limited exemptions and adjustments for growth in the full value of taxable real property. The library has not asked for an increase since the initial tax levy was approved 6 years ago in 2016.
The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) is expected to make the library’s 2022-23 fiscal year tax cap data available in mid-April 2022*.
An association library board can propose a tax levy that exceeds the tax cap with a 60% vote of their total board; after considerable planning and evaluation by the board’s finance committee, Skaneateles Library trustees unanimously approved a tax cap override – in the event that it is needed – at a regular meeting on December 17, 2021. The proposed levy must be approved by a simple majority of voters (+50%) and is planned for use in the library’s 2022-23 operating budget.
* UPDATE (5/2022): The OSC has set the library’s 2022-23 fiscal year tax cap at $365,858, meaning that our requested levy amount of $364,000 does not exceed the tax cap.
How do I vote?
The Skaneateles Central School District Board of Education Election and Budget Vote will take place from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at the District Office located at 45 East Elizabeth Street. Absentee ballots are available. Please visit skanschools.org for more information.