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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 21, 2009

Library budget passes easily

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — Ever since the Guilderland library became a public library with taxing powers, taxpayers have supported its budget. The tradition continued Tuesday for the 22nd year.

Voters passed the $3.13 million budget with 65 percent voting “yes” — 2,133 to 1,136.

The 2009-10 plan is 3.6 percent higher than the current budget, which the library’s director, Barbara Nichols Randall, pointed out is less of an increase than the Consumer Price Index increase of 4.45 percent.

She said, even as library use increases during the recession, the library’s board of trustees built the budget with taxpayers’ economic hardship in mind.

With state aid down, gifts and grants in decline, and interest on investments plummeting, the lion’s share of the budget will come from property taxes — $2.86 million. This represents a 2.5-percent increase over the current levy.

Tax rates for the current year for Guilderland residents were estimated at 90 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Nichols Randall estimates that next year’s rate will be under a dollar.

Two candidates ran for two seats on the library’s 11-member board of trustees. The posts are unpaid and carry a five-year term.

Barbara Fraterrigo has been on the board since the library had an elected board. She garnered 2,518 votes on Tuesday.

Brian Wheeler is making his first run for public office. He received 2,411 votes.

“A few years ago, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought,” said Wheeler last month. “Now that I’ve got children, I want to see them well educated.”

Wheeler and his wife, Liza, have a 16-month-old son and another baby due soon. Originally from Horseheads, N.Y., Wheeler works in information technology (IT) for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Fraterrigo, too, first got interested in the library because of her children.

She grew up in Massachusetts, and graduated from Emmanuel College in Boston with a major in chemistry and biology and a minor in teaching. She taught pre-med students embryology at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

She and her husband, Philip, a doctor, moved to Guilderland in 1972. They have five children.

“The schools here were wonderful,” said Fraterrigo, also a long-time Guilderland School Board member. “But there was a one-room library. “We had to go to Bethlehem or Albany for the kids’ schoolwork.”

Fraterrigo helped with the move to make the free library into a school district library, giving it the power to tax and have an elected board. Fraterrigo was elected to the first board in 1988 and has been a trustee ever since.

“Education and books have always been the love of my life,” she said.

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