Voters approved the Wyandanch Public Library budget and re-elected a trustee in what was one of the last library elections to be held in Suffolk County this year.
The library, which has been closed for more than a year due to what library officials said were health and safety issues with the HVAC system, held the election Tuesday in the Notre Dame Church Hall. -Lady of the Miraculous Medal.
The library’s $ 2.05 million budget for 2021-2022 does not increase the tax levy. Homeowners with an average value of $ 400,000 will pay $ 717. Voters approved the budget 165 to 72.
The election was the last held for Suffolk Libraries with a fiscal year starting July 1, said Kevin Verbesey, director of the Suffolk Cooperative Library System. Of the 45 libraries that have reported so far, 12 are keeping the tax levies the same as last year, he said. The average tax increase for the other 33 is 1.15%, he said.
Wyandanch’s election pitted incumbent trustee Norman J. Sellers, 52, who works for the LIRR, against challengers Laurie Farber, 66, who runs a nonprofit, and Sam Law, 33, a Marketing Director. The Sellers, who won the election to a vacant seat in 2018, received 135 votes for the five-year job, while Farber got 70 and Bill 41.
“I really appreciate the challenge of the Wyandanch community,” Sellers said. He said he was aware of criticism from the board over the years, but said the directors were working together to create more transparency.
“We have a wheelbarrow full of the past,” Sellers said. “Take a handful and join me in turning it over.”
Law disputes the election results, claiming that the vendors illegally cast postal ballots and that Farber went to the polling station several times.
“I’m not happy and will pursue this legally,” Law said.
Library director and election clerk Shadd Jamison said Sellers did not hand out any mail-in ballots and Farber came to the polling station to vote and use the toilet twice.
“She was watched by myself and two security guards throughout the day and did not speak to any voters or campaign on the premises,” Jamison said in an email.
Wyandanch is the only public library on Long Island to remain closed due to the pandemic. The building’s 30-year-old HVAC system is to be replaced at a cost of $ 1.2 million to $ 1.5 million, according to an engineer hired by the library. At the end of April, the state required all libraries to open by June 1 for a minimum of fixed weekly hours, which for Wyandanch is 35.
In a zoom meeting on May 12, board chairman Ghenya Grant said Jamison had made a plan to reopen. Verbesey said last week he had yet to receive the plan. The sellers said he hoped the library would submit it before the state deadline.
The plan is conditional on the installation of portable HVAC units for a partial reopening of the building. At the May 12 meeting, the board unanimously voted for a contract with Mobile Air & Power Rentals of Brooklyn Heights, Ohio, for up to $ 40,000 for portable units.