Library tweaks $10.4M bond plan

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The Great Neck Public Library Board of Trustees on Tuesday unanimously voted to issue its $10.4 million bond for the renovation of the Main Branch through a state agency rather than the Town of North Hempstead Business and Tourism Development Corporation. 

The $10.4 million bond will now be issued through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, library board President Marietta DiCamillo said. 

“This is what’s going to be the best for the Great Neck Library,” DiCamillo said in an interview. “And the board always does what’s best for the library.” 

Noah Nadelson, the board’s bond consultant, said at Tuesday’s meeting that dormitory authority has experience issuing bonds for other public libraries and that it is a “tried and true method of issuing bonds.” 

The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York’s website states that the group “issue[s] tax-exempt bonds and provide[s] expert construction-related services for public agencies and private not-for-profit institutions.”

Nadelson said the agency had also agreed not to take a mortgage out on the Main Branch, a practice it usually engages in with other libraries. 

“That brought the item under the cost of the [business and tourism development corporation],” DiCamillo said.

Nadelson said the town’s business and tourism development corporation has “never sold bonds before.” 

“Their experiences with these types of transactions have not been as great,” he said. “It made sense to go forward with DASNY.”

DiCamillo said that the change was a business decision and “had nothing to do with the Town of North Hempstead.” 

“We have a very good standing relationship with the town,” she said. 

“The BTDC wishes the Great Neck Library well as they undertake this fantastic project that we know will benefit the residents of Great Neck,” Executive Director of the Town of North Hempstead’s Business and Tourism Development Corporation Kim Kaiman said. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners in the community on projects that promote growth and development within the Town of North Hempstead.” 

DiCamillo said that the change will not affect the time line of the renovation project, which is scheduled to begin sometime in November. 

The renovation is expected to result in up to a year’s closure for the Main Branch.

DiCamillo announced in February that the public library system would only use its three other branches – Parkville, Lakeville and Station – during the renovation project. The board had considered renting space to house a temporary fourth branch.

Voters approved the bond in a referendum vote in November. Money from the bond will address key infrastructure issues in the Main Branch. 

The planned infrastructure changes include a new roof, insulated windows, a revamp of the building’s HVAC system and new lighting.

The project’s estimated $10.4 million budget, which library board members have said could potentially change in response to public input, includes $4.25 million for infrastructure, $4.1 million for renovations, nearly a half million dollars in new construction and $878,000 in contingency funding.

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