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Paying The Taxman For Passage

Non-Garden City residents

charged fee for library usage

Having the ability to check materials out of a public library is something most tax payers take for granted. But for a select number of Stewart Manor households, the simple action of checking out a book is not something that is taken so lightly. On March 18, the Village of Stewart Manor held an election in which residents who live on Fernwood Terrace voted to retain their access to the Garden City Public Library for another five years.

Homes on Fernwood Terrace technically do not reside within the boundaries of Garden City, even though they fall within the school district. Since those residences don’t pay Garden City taxes, they voted to continue paying a special fee in their Stewart Manor Village taxes to be granted access to the library. The Fernwood Terrace residencies contain an estimated population of 197.

“One behalf of the library board, we’re thankful to them for renewing the contract and we’re looking forward to another productive five years,” said J. Randolph Colahan, Chair of the Library Board in Garden City.

Unserved areas that belong to no library district are not uncommon. Library district boundaries can be drawn up a variety of ways, based off towns or school districts.

The conflict arises because libraries, like public schools, are paid by taxing the citizens. But while everyone pays a school tax, not everyone pays a library fee. Areas that fall into no library district and therefore pay no library tax are known as “unserved.” Residents who live there have the option to petition a neighboring library and ask to be made a library funding district, and pay an additional library fee in their taxes.

Ten library funding districts have been formed via contracts for service with member libraries in Nassau County. The unserved area made up of Fernwood Terrace lies between the Elmont Public library, which serves the school district, and the Garden City Public Library, which serves the Village of Garden City. In 2004, residents first approached the Garden City Library about gaining access. Every five years the contract is put to a vote, with residents opting to renew in 2009 and again this year, extending the contract till May 31, 2019.

A special tax will be levied to all properties on the street to fund the cost of the library services contract, at $27,870 per year.

Elementary school children needing access to the library was a major reason why parents on Fernwood Terrace sought to be added to the Garden City district. The students sometimes go on field trips to the library, and since those living on Fernwood would not ordinarily have been considered Garden City residents, this contract was necessary for them to get library cards and take out materials.

Besides becoming a library funding district, unserved residents have the option to apply for a State Mandated Access Card to fulfill their entitlement to library access. This program began in 2000. Cardholders can borrow materials from Nassau County libraries with some restrictions.

“Because New York State will not allow a fee to be charged for these cards and because the individuals issued these cards are not currently taxed for local library service, the state has approved limitations on what can be borrowed or accessed by these cardholders,” explains Nassau Library Systems Director Jackie Thresher.

Some possible restrictions placed on a cardholder might be having restricted remote access to library databases and downloadable media. Libraries are not required to loan recently-acquired books and audiovisual materials to non-residents as well.

Sometimes the creation of a library funding district isn’t a practical option because the population of the area in question is too low. Residents in such an area might take advantage of the State Mandated Access Cards.

“Residents of library funding districts that contract with a library for service are considered local cardholders of that library and have the same library privileges as the library’s local resident taxpayers,” adds Thresher.

News

Small businessman finds big success

Anthony DePalma has been manager at Covert Avenue’s Raindew Family Center and Pharmacy for 13 years. Last month, at the 30th Annual Small Businessperson of the Year and Legislative Breakfast at the Crest Hollow Country Club, DePalma got his much deserved recognition when he was awarded the day’s top honor by the Covert Avenue Chamber of Commerce, whose members hail from Stewart Manor and Floral Park.  

“My initial reaction was ‘wow that’s very nice,’ I didn’t realize that it was going to be such a beautiful extravaganza,” said DePalma on winning the award. “They did it very, very well. They had a breakfast at the Crest Hollow Country Club and everything was done beautifully. It was just done very, very nicely. Very proud.”

School board shows off improvements at Stratford

This month’s Garden City Board of Education meeting saw a boost in attendance, and not just from district residents. This was the first board meeting to be held at Stratford School, so teachers and students there stopped by to show off the best it has to offer.

Leading the pack was school principal Eileen Vota, who gave the board a tour of the school before the meeting got underway. Along the way, highlights of the capital improvement project were pointed out, all a result of the 2009 School Investment Bond and Energy Performance Contract.


Sports

Winter Swim Lesson Registration Announced

The Garden City Recreation Department will be conducting children’s swimming lessons for village residents at the Adelphi University swimming pool in Woodruff Hall on Saturday mornings. Your child must be six years of age by the start of the program to participate. This 10-week session will begin Saturday, Dec. 6. Classes are taught by Red Cross-certified instructors. The cost is $80. These classes are open to residents of the Incorporate Village of Garden City.

Learn And Play Paddle Tennis

The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes began the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:

Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave.


Calendar

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, December 1

AARP Driver Safety Program

Tuesday, December 2

Here Comes Brother Sun

Friday, December 5



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com