STOCKTON - Stockton Town Board members unanimously accepted the Mary E. Seymour Library Association's $10,000 bid for the Cassadaga Library building during Tuesday night's meeting.
The meeting, attended by more members of the public than usual, was held solely to decide which, if either, of the two bids for the library would be accepted.
A resolution adopted on July 10 established the method to offer surplus property for sale. Because the sale was subject to permissive referendum, the adoption of the resolution was posted and published on July 14.
The Cassadaga Library located at 18 Maple Ave. was declared surplus property by the Stockton Town Board. It was offered for sale. On Tuesday during a special meeting, the Mary E. Seymour Library Association’s bid of $10,000 was accepted. This action is subject to permissive referendum.
The resolution also revealed that an appraisal of the building was done by Holt Associations. In its opinion, the building was worth $80,000. R.N. Construction's estimate for remediating the building and bringing it into compliance was $133,758.
The resolution noted that the board received another bid for $10,029, but the town considered that "a public purpose is involved in allowing the Library Association the opportunity to attempt to keep the building open as a library in the village of Cassadaga."
This resolution is also subject to permissive referendum. If the residents of Stockton are unhappy with awarding the library to the Library Association, they can file a petition within 30 days. In that case, a general referendum would be held to accept or reject the resolution. The petition would have to be filed with the town clerk and must contain signatures of qualified town electors numbering at least 5 percent of the total vote cast in the town for governor at the last election.
Before the final vote was taken Wilson warned the Library Board that the town would no longer pay gas, electric, carry insurance on the property, maintain the property, pick up garbage, or mow the lawn. He also said he had heard rumors that the board planned to reimburse the library the $10,000 and emphatically said this was not the case.
Concerning the Stockton library where Stockton has its town offices, Wilson pointed out problems including a floor joist that is rotting, a roof that needs to be fixed, and mold beginning to grow in the basement.
Before David Wilson, town supervisor, read the resolution, he offered time for public comment, limiting the time to two minutes.
"Years ago Stan Zembryski was concerned about the problem with the heating system located in the roof area," said Cassadaga resident Joan Josephson. "No one acted. If someone had, we probably wouldn't be at this point today."
At the request of Councilman John Beichner, he gave results of his research into what other communities contribute to their libraries, comparing the contributions to population.
He asked the library board, "Do you have a game plan? Can you really do this?"
"I am insulted. ... We are not children. Treat us as mature adults. ... We need to discuss this among ourselves," responded Kathy George, library board member. "Now that we know (we have the building). Yes, we can do this and both libraries will be better than ever."
Councilman Allen Chase assured George that Wilson did not mean to be offensive, but rather to present the facts and the obstacles as clearly as possible.