The budget for Brockport's Seymour Library is at the mercy of three separate local governments. But that could change.
Each year, library officials have to approach the towns of Sweden and Clarkson, as well as the Village of Brockport with funding requests. Each community decides what it will contribute, but Brockport generally sets the tone, since it operates on a different budget year than the towns.
But it's an inefficient system that often means the library doesn't get the funding it needs, says Carl Gouveia, the library's director.
"Whoever gives them the least amount, that's what the other communities do," says Brockport Mayor Margay Blackman.
Library officials have proposed a solution. They want to create a special library district, which would allow library officials to tax residents directly to fund services instead of asking the governments for funding.
Residents within the district would elect the library's trustees and they'd vote on its annual budget, which is subject to the state's property tax cap, Gouveia says.
The State Legislature would need to pass a law to establish the district, and the communities' Senate and Assembly representatives support the idea, Gouveia says. Once the Legislature acts, Clarkson, Sweden, and Brockport residents would vote on the district, he says, and on its first budget.
The proposal doesn't need the blessing of Sweden, Clarkson, and Brockport officials, but library representatives are pursuing their support anyway. Gouveia says the village mayor and town supervisors seem to favor the plan.
Mayor Blackman says she understands the need for the district, and she supports the proposal. But she says she thinks some Brockport trustees might see the plan as a step toward dissolving the village and may resist it.