FULTON, NY – Fulton’s Public Library has new life and refreshed hope for its community vitality as voters overwhelmingly cast yes ballots to support funding the institution, staffing its board and providing a platform for continuity.
Fulton Public Library Board of Trustees President Marian Stanton was contacted at her home late Tuesday evening after the preliminary vote count was announced.
“I’m very delighted,” Stanton said. “It was nerve wracking but I’m so glad that we’ve done it and we’re on our way to giving a stable library to the city of Fulton. It’s very gratifying.”
With an unofficial preliminary total Tuesday evening of 766 yes votes and 288 no votes, Stanton said she was proud of the turnout and that voters decided overwhelmingly to support funding the library.
Although Stanton did not run for a seat on the board, and instead decided with this transition to pass the baton to the newly elected trustees, she expressed confidence in the newly elected board.
“I think everybody is going to do a great job,” Stanton said. “The library is going to come roaring back and provide the kind of service we’ve dreamed about providing to the people of the city of Fulton.”
Due to municipal budget cuts in recent years, as a city funded entity the library has been forced “to operate on a shoestring,” the sitting trustee president said.
An $80,000 cut to funding four years ago and then another $50,000 city cut to the library funding this year destabilized the shrinking revenue, forcing the library to cut its hours, staffing and freeze its program offerings.
Tuesday’s vote restores funding for the new fiscal year, and gives Stanton hope that the library will rebound with vigor.
“I’m thrilled and delighted that the people of the city of Fulton are seeing the positives, and reacting to them,” she said.
With a yes tally of 766-288, the first library proposition permanently established the city public library as a school district public library, and shifted its entire proposed annual operating cost to taxpayers throughout the school district in order to relieve its dependence on the city of Fulton funding.
Within that proposition voters supported the 2014-2015 proposed $350,000 library budget.
The second proposition defined switching from a city-government appointed board of trustees to a taxpayer-elected board, and voters approved that measure 771-278.
Before Tuesday’s vote, the members of the library board were appointed and confirmed by the Common Council and included President Marian Stanton, Vice President Tom Brown, Secretary LaVerne DeLand, and Treasurer Robert Vayner.
Along with the library propositions, voters also cast ballots for seven newly elected library board members as follows:
Thomas Brown, 639
Patricia Kush, 637
Robert Vayner, 627
Ellen Himes, 584
Carolyn Mosier, 563
Nicole Baldwin, 532
Kelly Nickerson, 504
Finishing just outside the top seven open spots were LaVerne DeLand and Dennis Casey.
Voters will now have the opportunity each year to vote on the budget and elect new members to the library board as terms expire.
Mayor Ron Woodward said on Tuesday that with a ‘yes’ from the school district voters, the library funding budget line would be removed from the city spending in his 2015 budget proposal, but that the city would still be responsible for the library building.