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Voters asked to approve funding for Canton Free Library

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CANTON — For the second year in a row, Canton property owners will be asked to contribute more funding to the Canton Free Library, which lost all of its St. Lawrence County funding this year.

Library officials are seeking to make up $11,797 lost when the county’s budget eliminated all funding to public libraries.

A proposition asking voters to approve an additional $12,000 for the library will be on the ballot May 21 when residents vote on the 2013-14 budget for the Canton Central School District.

“It’s almost exactly the amount of money we’re losing in county funding,” said Sara J. Ricalton, vice president of the library’s board of trustees.

As in the past, the proposition will be listed separately from other items on the school budget ballot. The tax is collected by the school district and then distributed to the library.

Last May, an extra $2,000 for the library was approved in a 465-154 vote, which brought the library tax funding to $77,000.

If voters approve the additional $12,000, the total library tax will increase to $89,000. That translates into an increase of 3 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation.

For a house assessed at $100,000, the library tax would increase by roughly $3, resulting in a total levy of $21 per year, Ms. Ricalton said.

Property owners also contribute through their town and village taxes. In the library’s 2012 budget of $321,950, the town contributed $77,114 while the village allocated $30,900.

This year, the town board agreed to increase its contribution to $78,600. The village has not yet finalized its budget.

Ms. Ricalton said the funding will help retain staffing, materials and programs at the Canton Free Library, 8 Park St., and its branches in Rensselaer Falls and Morley.

To help contain costs, library officials agreed to cut one staff position in the 2013 budget, which totals $316,502.

The library serves a growing number of patrons who borrow e-books, use library computers and wireless Internet access, and take out books, DVDs and CDs. During the past decade, the cost of books, magazines, newspapers and computer resources has gone up while funding for them has declined. “The e-books have become really popular,” Ms. Ricalton said.

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