Governor Signs Flanagan/Fitzpatrick Library Bill

Assemblyman’s First Law Amends Budget Year, Trustee Elections
December 1, 2004
ALBANY, N.Y. – Sen. John J. Flanagan (R,C,I-East Northport) and Assemblyman Michael J. Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-St. James) today announced that Gov. George E. Pataki has signed into law legislation they sponsored to assist the Smithtown Library Board of Trustees. The law amends the legislation which created the independent library district in 2001 and moves the library budget and trustee elections from the spring into the fall.

Specifically, the next such library vote will take place "on the first Tuesday following the second Monday in October," that is, October 11, 2005. In addition, the terms of office of library trustees moves from beginning on July 1 to beginning on Jan. 1, and the measure clarifies the boundary issue between the Smithtown Library District and the Emma Clark and Sachem library districts.

Assemblyman Fitzpatrick noted he was pleased that his first legislative measure to be signed into law assists the community’s library district, which was created by state legislation only a year before his own election to state government. Assemblyman Fitzpatrick helped oversee the library during his 15 years as a member of the Smithtown Town Board when the library was a part of the township.

"I am grateful to the governor for his signature and proud to have sponsored legislation for the Smithtown Library, an important community asset," said Assemblyman Fitzpatrick. "I look forward to continuing to work with the library trustees as they take this opportunity to put their financial house in order. Clearly, their long-range plans to enhance the services of the Smithtown Library’s branches must be based on the fiscal realities they now confront."

"Understandably, the library has experienced difficulties preparing an annual budget for a spring referendum which is not implemented until the following January. The board of trustees and the Suffolk County Cooperative Library System asked that their elections be moved to the late fall and their administrative year be changed to begin on January 1. By moving the election to the fall, they will be placing before the voters a budget that will be prepared much closer to the time of its implementation, allowing for greater accuracy and reliability. The fiscal and administrative years will now coincide," said Senator Flanagan.

The new law from Sen. Flanagan and Assemblyman Fitzpatrick also resolved the lingering boundary issue in accordance with the library’s board of trustees and the Suffolk Cooperative Library System.

"This legislation supersedes an advisory opinion given by the Office of Real Property Services which recommended that the Smithtown assessor continue to include in the Smithtown Special Library District residents of the Three Village and Sachem school district libraries despite the clear intent of the 2001 legislation which excluded them," Sen. Flanagan said. "Now, residents of Smithtown who reside in the Three Village and Sachem school districts will no longer be subject to the possibility of double taxation for library services. What the people voted for in 2001 will now be fully and properly implemented."

"As I noted when the legislation passed both houses earlier this year," concurred Assemblyman Fitzpatrick, "there should be no more confusion regarding boundaries and appropriate taxes.

"With this improved ability to budget more accurately, we can continue to work on enhancing our community’s libraries for the future, including what I hope can be a shared vision of using the Nesconset Armory site for both recreation and library purposes."

The bill was signed into law by Gov. Pataki on Nov. 16, 2004.