May 21, 2024 vote for 2025 Full budget of HLH

Hepburn Library of Hermon

School Ballot Referendum FAQ

Library Background

Hepburn Library of Hermon’s mission is to empower its community through a multidimensional platform of resources and outreaches to further literacy, self development, and self-sufficiency through free access to information.

New York State Education Law provides libraries the opportunity to seek funding on their local school ballot, the same way that schools have voter approved funding. Over 55 out of the 65 libraries in the North Country Library System (Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, and St. Lawrence counties) receive ballot approved funding. The Hepburn Library of Hermon had never utilized this funding option before until May of 2023, when we went on for $10,000. The vote was approved 143 in favor.

Q: What is the library asking for with this referendum vote?

The library is appealing to voters of the school district for a funding increase of $30,000 on the May 2024 ballot. If approved, a total of $40,000 would be collected and given to the library every year, until another vote changes that. This would be the libraries full operating budget for the 2025 fiscal year.

Q: How will the funding be used?

School ballot funding provides stable, reliable funding for our operation so we can continue serving our community. Operational costs include our traditional library services, maintaining our historic building, providing modern technology and free Internet access, programming for all ages, and simply what’s needed to keep the doors.

Q: Why now?

  • The library has been working together with the Town of Hermon on funding solutions to secure the future of the library. School ballot funding is the first step toward achieving that shared goal.
  • The library has had mostly flat funding for 15 years, with an annual budget hovering around $30,000. Due to rising costs throughout that time, the library must seek alternate sources of funding. By appealing to voters directly, this provides a democratic solution to funding the library.
  • The library is seeking to become more self-sufficient in coming years, which also helps the Town of Hermon.

Q: Why a referendum instead of a loan or a grant?

Loans are not sustainable sources of funding and grants are one-time payments that are often not to be used for operating expenses. Placing a referendum on the school ballot provides a solution for sustainable funding and allows the voters a direct voice in the funding process.

Q: Are there alternative funding sources available to the library?

Most of the library’s current funding comes from the town of Hermon, and a small amount from New York State. This funding fluctuates and is at the discretion of these sources. With the help of the North Country Library System and the Town of Hermon, the trustees of the library have explored their options for funding. New York State Education Law provides public libraries the option to go on their local school ballot, giving the voters of the school district the opportunity to approve funding for the library. 

Q: How much will the increase cost me as a homeowner?

The library’s increase of $30,000 will be an approximate tax rate increase for district residents of $.05 to $.09 per thousand dollars of assessed property value.  Homeowners with property assessed for $100,000 will see an increase between $5.71 and $8.64, depending on the township. For district residents living in Canton, DeKalb, and Hermon, it will be between $5.71 and $6.74. 

Q: How does this show up on my tax bill?

If voters approve the proposition for funding, the library tax will appear as a separate line item on your school tax bill. The tax is separate from the school tax and is not part of the school district budget. All money collected for the library tax goes directly to the library.

Q: What will happen if the referendum does not pass?

If the referendum does not pass, the library will have further hardship managing their stagnant budget to keep the doors open. This would include consideration for reducing services, hours, and more.

Q: When will the vote be held?

The library’s school ballot referendum vote will be held on May 21st, 2024. 

Q: Who can vote?

Voters participating in the school ballot election must be at least 18 years of age and registered to vote either with the Board of Elections or the school.