BATAVIA – The Batavia Public Library’s tax swap referendum appeared to have gained a narrow victory in Tuesday’s balloting.
With all 22 precincts reporting, voters approved the library’s ballot initiative by a margin of 6,055 to 6,007.
“I think this says a lot of people want to protect the library for the future,” said Daniel Russo, leader of a citizen committee supporting the referendum.
Voters were asked to approve a 7-cent tax rate increase for library operations, replacing a tax for construction bonds that are about to be paid off.
Approval of the referendum means that the overall property tax rate for library district property owners will remain at 44 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
Twenty years ago, Batavia voters approved an $8.8 million bond referendum to construct and equip the Batavia Public Library building.
Property owners in the library district have been paying a 7-cent tax rate on those bonds, which for the owner of a home valued at $300,000 comes to about $70 a year.
For the owner of that $300,000 home, the total library tax bill will remain at about $440.
The library plans to use the revenues generated from the tax swap to finance a 20-year, $5.1 million capital improvement program, starting with a new roof, windows and other improvements to the 17-year-old library building.