I urge everyone in the community to go out and vote no on the library budget on Tuesday, April 13. The voting is at the library from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The library's actual expenses in 2001 were $4.5 million, the first year the construction bond payments began. Although the bond payments have remained constant, the proposed budget for fiscal, 2005 is $5.8 million, a 28 percent increase in five years. Moreover, the library has been routinely ending its fiscal years with over $300,000 in surplus funds which means they are over budgeting to begin with. A no vote will result in keeping next year's budget at the current year's level of $5.47 million, thus cutting out the $300,000 plus fat but leaving in place the meat of its operating expenses. A no vote will also send a strong message that the community is not going to give the library a blank check and tolerate endless increases year after year.
A no vote on the library budget will also send a clear message to all the other taxing authorities in Port Washington which also increase their budgets every year with impunity but which the law does not permit a public vote. The police district increased its budget 25 percent for 2004 in just one year alone! The sewer district, which also increases its budget year after year, just increased its administrative salary budget for 2004 91 percent in one year from $114,000 to $219,000 by hiring a deputy administrator as well as increasing its senior administrator's salary 29 percent from $104,000 to $129,000 in just two years. The Port Washington Water District has among the highest water rates on Long Island in addition to imposing taxes and the Port Washington Fire Department increases its budget year after year imposing an enormous burden on both the unincorporated areas and the villages.
Not the least of which is the school district, the mother of all taxation, which is in the process of devouring the community. Its $104 million budget vote is coming up in May. All these taxing authorities take money out of the same pocket, yours and mine. And there will be no end to the endless increases all of them impose on us until we stop it. The time to stop the insanity is now. And the place to begin is on April 13 with a no vote at the Port Washington Library.
Steven M. Schlussel