Vote No Nov 6
FACTS ABOUT THE REFERENDUM
• What would this referendum dissolve and terminate?
It would dissolve and terminate the Woodstock Library as a democracy and community-created institution. Our democracy depends on our library being a Special District Library. That Special District would be dissolved and terminated.
• A Special District is a Democracy? How?
Every voter has a direct voice in library affairs. We can vote on budgets and elect board members. If we don’t like the budget, we vote it down, as the 2007 budget was. If we like the budget, we approve it, as 75% of voters did this year. If the Library District is dissolved and terminated, your right to vote will disappear. Worse is the impact on the spirit of the people who create our library day by day. The 105 year independent legacy of the Colony of the Arts library will be broken. The exuberant volunteer energy that creates the Library Fair will evaporate.
• What do the referendum people want?
They want to kick out your democratically elected library board and end your right to vote. They want the Town of Woodstock to take over the Library. They engineered this radical referendum to force renovation of the old building on the citizens of Woodstock.
• Didn’t they get hundreds of names on a petition?
The referendum backers used a slogan “Save Our Historic Library” to get signatures. This attracted countless people who thought, they were saving the library. Some who signed found out later that the petition backers didn’t represent the library. The backers were on a mission to kick out the current board instead. They were given distorted survey data about what “70% of the people” want.
• Will those petition signers Vote Yes or No?
Hundreds of petition signers had good intentions. They just wanted to “Save the Library.” We believe dozens, if not hundreds of signers will vote NO to defend our Library from termination.
• The referendum backers assure us of a smooth transition.
The best state level attorneys don’t know what will happen if the referendum passes. No town has ever tried to dissolve its library district. There is no case law or precedent. Courts will have to sort out which statutes apply and how they are to be interpreted. Until they do, we must assume everything is at stake. Funding, staff, programs and services, getting a new charter.
• Will we be able to get back our Special District later if we change our minds?
No. The State is not granting new Special Districts. If we terminate our Special District status, our democracy will be gone forever. We are lucky to be a Special District Library. We should not let go of it.
• What’s the matter with the Town running a municipal library?
Since its founding in 1913, the Woodstock Library has been independent of town control. Our library has always been a community creation of the Colony of the Arts. Generations of people have created and renewed it. Why downgrade our Special District to Municipal? A Library is more than a building. It is a People’s Trust for four generations of curious minds.
• How do We the People get heard?
(1) By voting NO on the referendum.
(2) By participating in the library vote every September.
(3) By voting yes or no on any bond issue funding a library project. The backers of this referendum want to sidestep normal democracy. They want to prevent any project but theirs from getting to a town-wide bond vote. They hope to blow up the library’s fundraising ability long before any project gets to a bond vote. We urge you to keep your right to vote directly. Vote NO.
• Isn’t this vote about renovation of the old building versus building a new library?
No, it’s not. This vote is about dissolving and terminating our Special District. There are no guarantees regarding building outcomes. (1) If No votes win, there’s no guarantee that a new library will be funded and built. (2) If Yes votes win, it’s not a guarantee that the old library won’t be torn down or will be renovated.
You are not voting for or against any building option.
• Has the Library Board listened to the People?
We believe four years of task forces, master planning and public input gave the library board enough data to do a cost-benefit analysis. They chose new building over renovation. There are now three concept designs on display at the library. Go see them and comment. There are many checks and balances with the public yet to go.
• How much might the bond be?
It’s too early to tell. Private fund raising and grants from the State will lessen the taxpayer burden. 70% of Woodstock’s tax revenues now come from out of town, lessening the burden on full-time Woodstockers. The final amount of a bond will depend on how big these other offsets are. No one can know the final numbers of a project at this conceptual stage. We encourage the board to hire a competent project manager and an ombudsman to oversee architectural development cost. Vote NO so that next steps can proceed forward responsibly.