Ilion Free Public Library Budget Vote

The Ilion Free Public Library has submitted a proposition to the Central Valley Central School District to allow the community to vote on library funding during the annual school budget vote on May 18, 2021.  This is a separate proposition from the school budget.

Ballot Language

This is what you will see on the ballot:

SHALL the annual appropriation to support and maintain the Ilion Free Public Library be Three Hundred Twenty-Six Thousand Eight Hundred Seventy-Six Dollars ($326,876), which sum shall be separate and apart from the annual School District budget; said appropriation to be raised annually by a tax upon the taxable property of said School District and be an annual appropriation thereafter until changed by further vote of the majority of electors of the Central Valley Central School District, and levied and collected yearly as are other general taxes?

How is the library able to align its tax support with the boundaries of the school district?

Education Law 259 allows for local libraries to levy tax support for library operations based on the geographical boundaries of the school district in which the library resides.  The school board is required to place the proposition for the levy on its annual school district budget vote upon request.

Why is the library doing this?

Most of the library’s funding currently comes from the VIllage of Ilion.   The Library is currently funded by the village at the same level as the early 2000’s and the funding isn’t stable.  Expenses have increased drastically over the last 20 years with no additional funding to keep up with these expenses.  The library has been using funds from a bequest that was left to the library to fill in this gap, however, those funds are almost gone.  The library and the community currently have no control over how much funding the library receives.  We believe that the library is a community resource and that the community should have a voice in determining its funding.  This would provide a sustainable and reliable source of funding for the library that is needed to continue to serve the community.

Have other libraries done this?

Many libraries across New York State receive their funding this way.  Out of the 43 libraries in the Midyork Library System, 35 of them get some or all of their funding from public votes.  We are currently the only library in Herkimer County that does not receive funding this way.

How will the proposed funds be spent?

In addition to maintaining our current level of programs and services, this level of funding would allow us to expand what we are able to offer the community.  Examples include expanding our normal hours to include more evening and Saturday hours, building on our current programming to include more programs for children, teens, and adults, updating and adding computers and other technology,  and updating and adding to our collection to meet the interests and demands of our community.  It will also allow the library to pay for some much needed building maintenance and repairs.  

Who decides how the money is used?

The Ilion Free Public Library Board of Trustees decides on an annual budget with help from the library director.  This will remain the same if the proposal passes.

What does the library provide for the community?

The Ilion Free Public Library provides many programs, services, and materials for our community.  In 2019 we offered 500 programs for people of all ages, with program attendance at almost 7,000 people.  This included 102 early literacy programs for children ages birth-5. 

Our Summer Reading Program (SRP) is also very popular.  In 2019 we had 366 children register for SRP, which was the third highest registration in all 3 counties within the Midyork Library System. 

In addition to programming, many community members rely on the library for printing, faxing, and general computer and WIFI use.  In 2019 we had 8,185 computer sessions and 3,459 WIFI sessions. 

Our local history room contains many different historical documents and information, along with a historian on staff to help the community access and understand this information.  We have been working on digitizing many of these materials and uploading them for public access.  Many in the community have utilized our tool lending program to take care of home repairs and projects. 

We offer a variety of circulating materials for check-out, including books, magazines, audiobooks, DVD’s, e-books, e-audiobooks, tools, and paintings.  Pre-COVID (2019) our materials circulation was 45,868, up 25% from the previous year.  

The pandemic has presented challenges to our regular library programs and services, but we have strived to continue to serve the community.  During our mandatory 3 month closure we purchased additional e-books and offered digital content.  When we were allowed to re-open we immediately began to offer outside pick-ups to ensure that people could once again check-out library materials safely.  We also began to offer craft kits to go, giving away over 3000 kits to local children over the last 8 months.  We are looking forward to expanding what we can safely offer to our community as local risk levels decrease and state regulations allow us to move back toward normalcy. 

Where will this new tax show up on my tax bill?

The library assessment will show up as a separate line item on your school tax bill.  The school is only the tax collecting agency for this assessment.  They will turn over all funds from this line item to the library.

Will library funding automatically increase each year?

Library budget increases are not automatic.  Once the original proposition passes, any future requests for increases would be voted on by the community.

Will my village taxes change if the library’s assessment is now collected on the school tax bill?

We cannot speak for the village.  The Ilion Village Board decides each year how to allocate money.  We do not have a say in how they will choose to reallocate the funds that were previously designated for the library.

How much will this library budget cost me?

The proposed budget would be approximately $0.87 per $1,000 of assessed home value (not market value.)  For a home assessed at $50,000 this equates to $43.00 per year, or about $0.83 per week. That’s less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week!   

Where/how do I vote?

You can vote on this proposition at the same time and location as the annual school budget vote.  This is currently scheduled for May 18, 2021 from 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM at Central Valley Academy.  To be eligible to vote, you must be a US citizen, 18 years of age or older, a resident of the Central Valley Central School district for at least 30 days prior to the vote, and not disqualified by any reason set forth in NYS Election Law §5-106. 

If you have any questions, or if you would like to learn more about this vote, please contact Shauna Bishop at 315-894-5028 or

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