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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Volunteers seeking library signatures for second time


BRASHER FALLS — Volunteers hope to have the required number of signatures by Wednesday to place a proposition for a branch library here on the November ballot.

But some residents have questioned the effect the proposal will have on taxes if voters approve it. Town officials said the $56,000 budget item would reflect a 14.5 percent hike in the tax levy.

Organizers said that based on their calculations, it amounts to 67 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of $67 for the owner of a home assessed at $100,000.

“From the very beginning, it was laid out at $56,000. That’s the entire cost of the branch. No one was ever hiding anything,” Massena Public Library Director Elaine Dunne-Thayer said.

“It’s very clear on the actual petition. It’s 67 cents per $1,000. Where the other percentages are coming from, I don’t know.”

She said supporters are forging ahead with the petition drive. Their goal is to have the signatures submitted to town officials by Wednesday afternoon.

It’s the second go-round for the petition process.

Roger A. Linden, attorney for the town of Brasher, questioned the validity of the first petitions during a hearing last month because volunteer Michele Ellis-Porcaro had signed her name on each page of signatures, including those she had not personally witnessed.

Ms. Ellis-Porcaro told Mr. Linden that while there were some signatures she had not personally witnessed, she had personally seen others sign the petition as she went from door to door seeking supporters for the initiative.

However, Ms. Ellis-Porcaro said, her signature appearing on each page of petitions was simply a misunderstanding about proper procedure.

Library officials need 80 signatures, representing 10 percent of the number of Brasher residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election, to get the proposition for a branch library on the November ballot. The library would be in Crapser Hall in the former Boothe Building in downtown Brasher Falls.

Overall, supporters turned in 11 pages with 130 signatures, but indicated on the cover letter that 89 signers were residents of the town of Brasher.

Because of the confusion over which signatures on the original petitions would be declared valid, organizers have started from scratch in their attempts to gather 80 signatures supporting the proposal.

“I think they just wanted to make sure that they’re following the letter and doing everything that was requested by the town’s attorney. The support was there,” said Emily Owen, a consultant with the North Country Library System who has been working on the project with Massena Public Library officials.

“They’re just getting people to sign it again who had already expressed their support for this,” she said.

The petitions will be submitted to the Town Council by Wednesday and must be filed with the Board of Elections by Sept. 20 in order for the proposal to appear on the November ballot.

Ms. Owen said she hopes the petitions can be reviewed and approved soon.

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