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Back to the books 

Officials with Seymour Library in Brockport had a plan to simplify what they say has become a burdensome budgeting process. But with a few flicks of his wrist, Governor Andrew Cuomo put a halt to it.

Library officials wanted to establish a special district, which would have allowed them to collect taxes from residents of Brockport, Sweden, and Clarkson; the communities share responsibility for funding the library under a 1990 agreement.

The State Assembly and Senate passed legislation earlier this year that cleared the way for the district. But Cuomo, a vocal supporter of municipal consolidation, vetoed the bill earlier this month, as well as similar legislation for a library district in Dutchess County.

"I remain concerned that these bills would establish yet another level of local government," Cuomo wrote in his veto memo. "At a time when taxpayers continue to be overwhelmed with property taxes, these bills have the potential to add to this onerous burden and add further to the plethora of levels of local government."

Currently, Seymour Library officials approach each town annually with their funding request, says Library Director Carl Gouveia, and it takes a few rounds to solidify what each will contribute. And the process usually ends with the towns contributing less than what the library requests, he says.

Library officials have taken a step to simplify this year's budget process. Last week, the library board's financial committee met with representatives of the Brockport, Clarkson, and Sweden governments to present proposed contributions for each community. The library's requesting a total overall increase of less than 1 percent from the towns.

Library officials have also proposed revisiting the 1990 agreement to see if it can be improved, Gouveia says, and the local governments are open to the idea. But he says he doesn't know where those talks will lead.

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