MONROE-"I'm ecstatic! (Supervisor) Sandy Leonard called me with the good news," said Library Director, Marilyn McIntosh. "There were 2,730 people who said yes to us." After a week's delay caused by counting more than 500 absentee and provisional ballots, the Monroe Free Library received the good news this week that its operating budget had been approved. Proposition No. 1 asked residents whether they would favor increasing library spending by $83,363 to $922,500 annually. More than 5,000 votes were counted, with 2,730 residents supporting the proposition and 2,372 voting against it. The margin of approval went from 50 when the polls closed Election Day to 358 after the absentee and provisional ballots were counted. "This is the best we've ever done during a presidential election year," McIntosh said. The library budget did not pass the last two times it coincided with the presidential election. "We are now ready for 2005," McIntosh declared. The library can now focus on its next hurdle: The controversial issue of the combination library/municipal building. McIntosh said that the referendum is still on track and the cost of the facility is currently at $12.8 million. "I don't think that figure will change," she said. Informational flyers were sent to residents last week to provide the current status of the proposed facility. "Next week some residents will be contacted for telephone polling," McIntosh noted. Residents will be contacted by telemarketers with specific questions, but if they choose to give additional comments on the subject, "they won't be stopped," McIntosh said. The combined library/municipal building is due to appear on a referendum on March 15, 2005.