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Eden Town Board decries agreement with county library system

The Eden Town Board resolved that the town’s library board should refuse to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system at a board meeting Wednesday (Sept. 12).

In a resolution read at the meeting, the town board decried the memorandum, stating that it strips local communities of any library authority and that the memorandum’s language was drafted without any proper input from stakeholders. The new memorandum, which is being presented to library boards across the county, creates a new taxing district for libraries while stripping local trustee boards of authority through forfeit of their library charter.

“The frustrating part about it is that much of the conversation happened with us out of the loop,” said Eden Supervisor Glenn Nellis. He said that, although representatives from Eden and other towns attended a preliminary meeting to discuss ideas on the memorandum, the document, which establishes a new governing system for the library, was drafted without ongoing discussions with town governments. Communication was also lax with county legislators. Nellis said that county legislators, up through the county executive’s office, were not kept aware of the memorandum’s progress.

The memorandum had already been opposed at an Eden library board meeting earlier in the month. Town trustees felt it necessary to pass the resolution supporting the library board’s in response to what Nellis called the dcision “unusual pressure on library trustees” to sign the memorandum. Aside from opposition in a few other towns, including Concord, Supervisor Nellis said he is not aware of any other library boards standing firm against the county system’s imposition.

“We will see what happens on that, I guess, in the next couple of weeks,” Nellis said.

In other business, the board:

• Was credited by the town’s two fire chiefs for approving upgrades to the radio communication systems of both departments. Jack Rigley, the Eden Fire Chief, and Andrew Breier, the East Eden Fire Chief, both made the comments during their regular departmental reports. The old low-band radio system, in use since the 1950s with a range of a few hundred yards, has been replaced by a 400 megahertz system that can communicate across miles, if necessary.

• Set a public hearing for final review of the town’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The public hearing will take place during the board’s regular meeting on Oct. 24.


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