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Jan 18, 2017 1:01 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Library Board Will Seek Taxpayer Approval Of $9.9 Million Renovation Plan In March

The Hampton Bays Library is in contract to buy the property at 3 Argonne Avenue to provide extra parking to patrons. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Jan 18, 2017 1:03 PM

Hampton Bays Public Library officials are again discussing renovation plans for the Ponquogue Avenue facility and, this time, will put up a nearly $10 million bond referendum in March to finance the proposed work.

Library officials, who had a more ambitious $15.8 million proposal rejected by taxpayers in June, said their scaled-back plan looks to renovate the entire interior of the facility while also covering the costs of a new roof and an updated heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, according to Director Susan LaVista. The work would require the temporary closure of the library, adding that it would operate from a temporary trailer until the renovations are completed.

As in the library board’s first proposal, the new plan still calls for the purchase of an adjoining half-acre lot at 3 Argonne Avenue for $390,000 to provide additional parking spaces. The house that sits on the property would most likely be preserved and used for additional library activities, Ms. LaVista said.

“It will better meet the current needs of the library,” she said, noting that the architectural plans for the building are still in the works.

To cover the project’s costs, officials are putting up a $9.9 million bond referendum on Tuesday, March 14. Registered district voters can cast their ballots between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Though no final decisions have been made, Ms. LaVista said the proposed bond could run for as long as 30 years. She did note, however, that if the referendum is approved those taxpayers whose homes are assessed at $350,000 would pay an estimated $64 a year in library taxes to finance the renovations.

She also said that, if the referendum is approved, the library would apply for grants to help lessen the cost to taxpayers. Ms. LaVista added that officials are already looking into applying for the New York State Aid for Library Construction grant—an application, however, cannot be filed until after the referendum is approved.

The new plans come several months after taxpayers voted down a $15.8 million referendum that would have allowed library officials to knock down the current facility and build a larger new two-story building in its place. At the time, officials were also planning to buy the same Argonne Avenue property to add additional parking.

The library now has 67 parking spaces and available spots are often at a premium, especially during peak usage times. Ms. LaVista said 25 new parking spaces would be added, upping the number of total spots to 92, under the current plan.

The Argonne Avenue property is owned by John McKenna, whose primary residence is in East Northport. After he signed the first contract Madeline O’Keefe, vice president of the Hampton Bays Library’s Board of Trustees, explained that officials were able to convince Mr. McKenna to sell his property to the library because his mother always loved the educational institution.

Ms. O’Keefe explained that Mr. McKenna, who could not be reached for comment, rents his Hampton Bays home to a pair of nuns who have plans to relocate in the near future. According to Southampton Town records, Mr. McKenna bought the house in May 1986, a little more than a decade after it was built. In 2015, the house was assessed by the town at $354,300.

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The people never win. We voted it down, and they just come back with another. And they'll keep coming back until something gets passed. Government by the people, for the people - I think not!!!
By HamptonDad (220), Hampton Bays on Jan 18, 17 4:45 PM
And here we go again VOTE NO. there was a reasonable plan for renovations presented for $1 million - I seriously don't understand why this Board doesn't see that the taxpayers of HB are fed up with the school tax and the library tax a/k/a the free babysitting service tax. They conduct programs that directly compete with the small businesses that give back to the community. Seriously STOP.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jan 18, 17 6:19 PM
There are over 200,000 free books available at amazon.

That's just one site.

There are many other sites that offer free downloads of books as well.

So what does the Library need more space for? Yoga? Chair Stretching? Crochet? Zumba? There is a senior center right down the street. Are you in competition with it?

Maybe the library needs to get real about its mission and do more with less. Renovate what you have, leverage technology, etc.
By C Law (346), Water Mill on Jan 18, 17 6:47 PM
It is incredibly disturbing to me that the Board announces this mid-January for a March referendum when many of the residents of Hampton Bays left for the winter. Seriously, they should be ashamed of themselves. If truly cared about the taxpayers of Hampton Bays, they would put this out in the summer. We need to get the word out and get absentee ballots to those we know that are out of town.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jan 19, 17 5:48 AM
Books and e books are so readily available why do we even need a library? Hampton Bays get ready for 10k taxes a year.
By chief1 (2737), southampton on Jan 19, 17 10:36 AM
1 member liked this comment
What part of NO did the Library Board not understand. They really must think we are idiots. Hey Library Board there is a thing called Google now where information is FREE and also there is a thing called a Kindle where you can buy books at a very low cost from the comfort of your home. I understand some people still use the library in order to obtain a book at no cost or use a computer but please explain why you need to spend $10 million dollars of the hard earned HB Taxpayer dollars on unnecessary ...more
By tranquility1985 (24), Hampton Bays on Jan 19, 17 11:52 AM
3 members liked this comment
You Hampton Bays people are great! I love how vocal, unified, willing and courageous you are to speak up. Our WH Free Library is planning to renovate its 6 year old building with a $1.3 million donation. They're hosting Public Design Charrettes now in January and February--when no one is here (references a comment above). Ok. Maybe fair enough since they're using the one large donation. However, after we WH taxpayers approved a nearly $8 million bond for a new building back in October 2007, ...more
By st (126), westhampton beach on Jan 19, 17 2:30 PM
The business of government at its best
By dave h (193), calverton on Jan 19, 17 8:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
9.9mm$ for an updated interior, new roof and a/c system and 25 parking spots ...so just shy of 10mm$ does not even get us a new structure? That seems very steep. No thanks .
By ashhelm (8), hampton bays on Jan 20, 17 3:04 PM
2 members liked this comment
and im sorry I can not help myself...but Eli Manning only had to pay 8.5mm$ for 7000 sq ft on the ocean!! think about that
By ashhelm (8), hampton bays on Jan 20, 17 3:09 PM
3 members liked this comment
That had a reasonable effective $1 million proposal when they started this - now it is almost $10 million. How can we trust the Board with our money. Please everyone vote NO.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jan 20, 17 5:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
Change your board. Technology and times have changed, less room and more technology is needed.
Board EGOS, want to be better than the OTHER library... EGOS
By knitter (1754), Southampton on Jan 20, 17 6:16 PM
2 members liked this comment
They can't change their board. Their board is appointed. Like Westhampton's Library board. There are no elections. The trustees have nearly absolute power with your tax dollars. Only big bond votes and annual budget votes. It's taxation without representation. Only 7 of 24 LI association libraries still maintain appointed boards. Appointed isn't American.
By st (126), westhampton beach on Jan 20, 17 9:32 PM
For Christ's sake, renovation of the Canoe Place Inn isn't expected to cost that much.
By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on Jan 22, 17 7:04 PM
3 members liked this comment
The library serves the role of a very needed community service. It is not a "babysitting service." It is a place for mothers of young children to meet and form their support networks. It is a place for children to grow a love of learning, of books, of friendship, of art. Not everyone has the means to send their child to nursery school, the library is a place where child grow, learn, and build friendships. It is also a place where mothers and fathers can get support and advice. People say the library ...more
By hbnewbie (4), Hampton Bays on Jan 23, 17 7:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
The library is "supported." Every budget gets passed.
"Supporting" the library does not necessarily mean voting for an unnecessary $10M bond.
By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on Jan 24, 17 10:42 PM
I could not agree MORE! I have lived in HB for over 20 years, raised 3 children here and am currently raising 2 more. The library back then and now continues to be a staple in our home. I do not understand why it is being referred to as a "babysitting service" ? Nothing could be further from the truth! When I attend the library whether it be for a program, to pick up books, make a quick copy or donate some magazines there are always many children, families and adults enjoying the facility. Is ...more
By Lisa Marte (2), hampton Bays on Jan 23, 17 8:02 PM
In my opinion, this renovation plan as well as the new building is/was excessive. The Library is adequate, albeit in need of some repairs/update. The Board presented a $1 million renovation plan which seemed reasonable and adequate. I did not come by this conclusion lightly. I am a full time homeowner in HB for almost 20 years I am a CPA and spent 30 years in finance and accounting in Corporate America (and plenty of time in libraries); I also attended 2 of the Library presentations; I reviewed ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (487), Hampton Bays on Jan 24, 17 8:25 AM
The next HB Library board meeting is Tuesday, February 7th at the library at 7PM. I respectfully submit that if you're interested in this proposal that you should try to attend this meeting and listen to what our library board has to say.

Personally, the $10 million roof renovation seems like a lot of money unless that is a solar roof that generates excess electricity that will be sold back to LIPA for a profit. But of course it is not.

Is this still a Sandpiper construction ...more
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jan 24, 17 1:01 PM
Davidf you're a little confused, it's Sandpebble and Easthampton paid the piper.

He was indeed at the last REGULAR library board meeting, not the special one called in the middle of the month. Here is the note from the minutes, available on line:

OLD BUSINESS Building Plans – presentation by Victor Canseco.

Here is how Mr. Canseco operates his construction management business:

In June 2006 the East Hampton Union Free School District negotiated a construction ...more
By dfree (749), hampton bays on Jan 24, 17 1:17 PM
PQ1 - couldn't agree with you more. I think the Library is an asset to the community, but it is adequate the way it is. There was a $1 million renovation proposed at the community meetings last year which seemed reasonable and prudent and fiscally responsible. How does it now snowball into $10 million? I have no confidence in the estimates or the process. I have no choice by to oppose this renovation. It is also unfair to taxpayers that are out of town for the winter to move forward on the referendum ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (487), Hampton Bays on Jan 25, 17 8:11 AM
Why is Victor Canseco /Sandpebble still presenting construction plans to this board? He received millions of dollars for deceiving the Easthampton school board, signing a $10 million construction project with him is a terrible idea. And after losing the last vote, the director of the library got a new 5 year contract last month. Who gets 5 year contracts? This is going to end badly.
By dfree (749), hampton bays on Jan 26, 17 10:47 AM
As I indicated, I have no confidence in the estimate or the process based on my attendance at 2 of the community meetings conducted by the Library administration and Sandpebble. However, I don't see where you obtained the information about Ms. LaVista contract and Sandpebble.
By G.A.Lombardi (487), Hampton Bays on Jan 26, 17 12:15 PM
Funny you people think you know the Sand Pebble case. He won in court over a district that signed contracts, and reneged. Ridiculous that some of you know more, and act like the man is not honest. Really disgusting
By chief1 (2737), southampton on Jan 26, 17 8:01 PM
Funny you people think you know the Sand Pebble case. He won in court over a district that signed contracts, and reneged. Ridiculous that some of you know more, and act like the man is not honest. Really disgusting
By chief1 (2737), southampton on Jan 26, 17 8:01 PM
chief 1 - I attended the HB community meeting where Sandpebble provided the engineering studies and estimates for the 4 scenarios for the repair or replacement of the HB Library ranging from about $100K to $14 million. Sandpebble made the point that they had no vested interest in the outcome. However, when the Board decided to go with the new building, Sandpebble made the presentation as the project manager. The Board was asked whether the selection of the vendors had been done by competitive ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (487), Hampton Bays on Jan 26, 17 11:29 PM
The presentation by Mr. Canseco for the $10 million construction budget and the 5 year contract extension for the executive in charge of the library are both noted in the board minutes. Both of these actions were made AFTER the $15 million construction of new library by Mr. Canseco was voted down by a 4 to 1 margin. These minutes are on the Hampton Bays Library website.

I would suggest to the Board that the presentation Mr. Canseco made be placed on the website. Mr. Canseco and his construction ...more
By dfree (749), hampton bays on Jan 27, 17 5:23 AM
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