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VETO MESSAGE - No. 31
TO THE ASSEMBLY:
I am returning herewith, without my approval, the following bill:
Assembly Bill Number 587, entitled:
"AN ACT to create the Orangetown public library district and to
repeal chapter 349 of the laws of 1973, relating to creating a
library district in the town of Orangetown in the county of Rock-
Chapter 349 of the Laws of 1973, as amended by Chapter 372 of the Laws
of 1975, created one library district of four independent library asso-
ciations within the Town of South Orangetown (the "Town") in Rockland
County. Under current law, the library associations are required to
submit one combined budget to the Town each year and provide for a
single tax rate across the district to support the four libraries.
Under this system, the libraries must develop and submit a single annual
budget, which by law can increase by no more than 10 percent over the
prior year's total budget.
This bill would repeal current law and authorize each of the independ-
ent libraries to set a separate tax rate and submit a separate annual
budget request to the Town, free of the annual 10 percent spending cap.
While the stated purpose of this legislation is laudable - to provide
greater flexibility in the budgeting process - the bill raises several
issues that merit its disapproval.
First, the bill, without explanation, eliminates the 10 percent annual
budget spending cap for the libraries. The elimination of an overall cap
on growth could result in a deleterious impact on taxpayers in the
district with the potential for substantial annual budgetary increases.
Second, this legislation would have an uneven impact on the town's
taxpayers, because the tax rates would become variable by district.
Third, the issues that this legislation seeks to address are not struc-
tural, but rather managerial in nature. Under the current law, there is
nothing that prohibits the Town from providing greater oversight under
the library district's existing budget process. Therefore, existing
powers could be exercised more vigorously to address problems without
the need for legislation.
I have directed my staff to work with the bill's sponsors and the Town
to consider alternatives to this legislation that would protect taxpay-
ers while accomplishing the stated goals of this bill.
The bill is disapproved. (signed) Andrew M. Cuomo
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