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Shelter Island Library budget vote wins in a walk — 113 to 12

Shelter Islanders supported the library’s proposed $926,715 spending plan with 113 people voting in favor, while 12 voters rejected the proposal.

“I’m really pleased that the community came out on a beautiful holiday weekend to support the library,” Director Terry Lucas said. “We’re looking forward to 2023 and all that it brings.”

Taxes are to cover $755,796 of expenses in 2023. It’s estimated to cost the average taxpayer $7.87 more next year than the current budget. The remainder of spending is to come from grants, contributions and fundraising,  anticipated to bring in $111,400; fines, fees and programs, for another $12,375; and interest income, $144.

The 2023 budget is $51,659 more than the current year’s budget with the largest increase for salaries, employee taxes and benefits, Ms. Lucas said.

Shelter Island is one of a very few Suffolk County libraries that operate on budgets of less than $1 million.

Ms. Lucas credited her staff with making it possible to offer an array of programs for Islanders of all ages.

She noted libraries today are so much more than a place to borrow books, pointing to programs such as Friday Night Dialogues and Great Decisions with talented speakers who have contributed their time and effort without compensation.

Because of its many services, the library has touched the lives of practically everyone on the Island, Ms. Lucas said. In addition to providing access to books, periodicals, audio and video materials, the library offers other services and programs, including:

• Providing passport processing and Notary Public services.

• Providing a safe site for students after school to do homework, play games or participate in book clubs or other activities.

• Offering crafts for children of all ages.

• Providing meeting space for many community groups.

• Holding vaccination clinics. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the library was closed for only a brief time and since then has continued to offer programs in-person and remotely.