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Fate of Haass library at stake

Village of Sussex - The Pauline Haass Library Board is scheduled to discuss on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the library the possible ramifications if the Town of Lisbon and Village of Sussex terminate their joint agreement to fund the library.

Library officials are asking Village Trustee Tim Dietrich and Town Supervisor Ryan Lippert to report on the proposals for a new agreement that they have been negotiating for the past 14 months. They tentatively reached an agreement on a new funding contract but it was rejected by the town board.

The library board also intends to discuss the possible disposition, if the municipal agreement is terminated, of about 60 acres of land located at the intersection of Hickory and Lake Fire Roads in the Town of Lisbon that was donated for library purposes to the town by the Haass estate. Town officials have argued in the past they have sole jurisdiction over the land.

Town Board Chairman Matt Gehrke has warned that if the two communities do not come up with a new funding agreement for the library "in the coming months" he may recommend in February that the town board terminate the existing agreement.

Village officials say they have developed a contigency plan that would enable the village to provide funds that would allow the library to continue to operate without funding from the town, if the agreement were terminated.

The village presently contributes about $480,000 a year to library operations while the town contributes about $450,000.

The negotiating committee's original proposal would have reduced the town's contribution to $425,000 and the village would provide $500,000.

The town board's counter proposal adopts the negotiating payment scheduled for the first two years of the plan and then beginning in 2015 drops the town's contribution to $250,00.

Gehrke has been insisting on a new funding formula because, according to library circulation figures, village residents use the library more than town residents.

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