Oct 01, 2009 Ami Olson Uncategorized
Representatives of the Marcellus Free Library met with the Marcellus Town Board Thursday Sept. 24 during the town’s work session to ask the town not to cut the library’s allotted $27,500 in the 2010 budget.
Though the town will not begin budget hearings until later this month, Library Director Carol Johnson and MFL Treasurer Ken Cardarelli presented a petition signed by 812 library patrons in support of the town continuing the current level of funding. Johnson also presented the board with statistics to show usage of the facility has risen dramatically in the last few years.
“By the end of 2009 we expect circulation to exceed 160,000,” Johnson said. “That’s a 158 percent increase, or an average increase of 40 percent each year since 2005.”
Johnson and Cardarelli argued that the new 32 Maple St. facility has brought in around 1,500 new patrons and had a direct affect on the increased usage, which is good business for the library.
But Cardarelli pointed out that when the library made the decision to relocate and build a new facility, the board had anticipated the level of funding from the town and village to remain the same, and even increase over time to match inflation.
When the village of Marcellus put together their 2010 budget, the library was caught off guard when Mayor Mike Plochocki announced the village would cease funding to independent, private organizations such as the library, in accordance with the Improper Gifts law.
That decision left the library with a $9,000 gap to fill in their annual operating budget of about $456,000.
“If you cut us, you’re asking us to shift the burden to school taxes or cut something out of the budget,” Cardarelli told the board.
The Marcellus Free Lbrary can levy taxes through the Marcellus School District to increase funding. Currently less than 10 percent of distirct residents’ school taxes go to the library, but Cardarelli said in some neighboring towns taxpayers contribute between 30 and 40 percent of their school taxes to public libraries.
Supervisor Dan Ross explained to the board that any cost savings town residents would see if the town cut the library budget would likely be negated by an increase in the school tax levy the library would then propose.
He also reminded board members that the town enjoys use of the library community room for free.
Carol pointed out that the library hosts Parks and Recreation Department programs five days a week, all year round.
“The $27,500 is not a lot of money – but it is in these budget times,” said Councilor Jim Sheridan.
That amount pays for one full-time employee’s salary, Carol said.
Ross said when budget discussions begin later this month, the library was certain to be a topic of discussion, but no decisions had yet been made.