Fairview Library receives town funding

By Pauline Liu
After weeks of waiting and a heated confrontation with Town of Middletown Supervisor Marge Miller, the trustees of the Fairview Public Library in Margaretville have finally received $12,500 in funding from the town.

The money, which had been earmarked for the library in Middletown’s 2012 budget, arrived in the mail on Monday. It was at least three weeks late.

“We’d like to thank the town board for releasing taxpayer funding intended to assist in maintaining the library in 2012,” said library board president Ingrid van der Leeden. “These monies will help us continue our programs and services to the community,” she added

In recent weeks, both the library’s board of trustees and town board members Jake Rosa and John Roucek have accused Miller of withholding the funds and overstepping her authority in her dealings with the library. At a trustees meeting on March 8, Miller claimed that she was not to blame for the Fairview’s delayed funding. However, she sent a letter to the trustees on town letterhead, dated February15, in which she wrote that the funds “will be held on my desk, pending my approval as per our concerns.”

Miller has had a rocky relationship with the library for nearly 10 years. She was a former trustee herself, but she left the position in 2004, after she was criticized for low attendance. She was twice rebuffed, when she applied to become the Fairview’s library director in 2005 and again in 2006.
Following the meeting, Miller took to her blog and criticized the library trustees for being “not schmart” in their response to her.

Meanwhile, the trustees consulted attorney Gary Rosa, who represents the library. They drafted a statement to ask the town board for the funding. After van der Leeden read the statement aloud at the town board meeting last Tuesday, Miller offered a short reply. 

Ready to send
“The library voucher is on top of my pile right now,” she said.  The voucher to release the funds was approved by the town board. Miller signed the check and it was mailed before the weekend
Van der Leeden also invited the town board members to sit down and have a discussion with the trustees. Mike Finberg accepted the invitation on behalf of the town board. Both sides are now trying to schedule a meeting.

As for Miller, she did not publicly commented any further on the situation. In fact, she took down her blog a few days later.