Here are the letters to the editor that appeared in the May 11 print edition of the Eagle Bulletin.
To the editor:
On Tuesday, May 17, voters in the Fayetteville-Manlius School District will vote on budgets for the Fayetteville Free Library (FFL) and the Manlius Library. These are two excellent libraries but fragmentation and duplication are costly. With the rapid advance of information technology, we should be considering the future of the libraries and how to use public monies more efficiently.
This year Fayetteville is requesting an increase of 6 percent in tax revenue ($101,354) bringing the total to $1,790,584, an overall increase of 89 percent since 2008. Manlius is seeking a 2 percent increase ($25,279), proposing $1,263,965. If the budgets pass, the costs paid by property tax dollars for both libraries would be $3,054,549, 91 percent of total operating costs ($3,353,792).
A 60 percent majority will be needed to pass both budgets since proposals exceed the state tax cap. However, there is not a clear process for the public to comment on the library budgets prior to the vote.
As a Manlius Library trustee I often heard from district residents: Why are we paying so much more for the libraries than other communities? Why don’t the libraries merge?
Here is information FM voters need to know:
∙Your library tax bill is for both libraries.
∙The combined cost of operating the libraries in 2015 was $3,148,894, almost all (93 percent) paid by tax dollars.
∙The 2015 per capita cost for FFL was the highest in Onondaga County, $176.97.
∙The second highest was Manlius, $117.90 per capita.
∙The average per capita cost among the libraries of the Onondaga County Public Library System in 2014 was $59.25, the median $49.57
To those who ask about merging the libraries, the present focus on consolidation promoted by Consensus CNY makes a conversation timely. In Onondaga County, there is a precedent. Village libraries in North Syracuse, Cicero and Brewerton merged in 1996 to form the Northern Onondaga Public Library. NOPL is a model for efficiency. Costs were reduced and services streamlined through centralized administration, purchasing and programming. In 2014, NOPL’s per capita cost was $49.49.
Given the history and structure of the libraries, initiating a conversation about merging is not easy. Consolidation is not as simple as the larger library telling the smaller that it will take over. There is a process recommended by New York State Department of Education Division for Library Development. Fayetteville and Manlius library boards would need to hold meetings, vote to approve a merger study and share the costs required to retain an independent consulting firm to conduct the study and advise the trustees.
Libraries belong to the communities they serve but as long as the budgets continue to pass in the FM District, there is no incentive for the boards to consider the benefits and costs of consolidation.
If you question the costs and support a merger study, vote no on this year’s proposals to set a cap on spending until these issues can be addressed.
Should a proposed budget be rejected, a library will be not defunded or close. Funding would remain at the 2015 level. Per regulation, both libraries must remain open for a minimum of 35 hours per week, even if a budget fails to pass.
Mary Karpinski, trustee
Manlius Library 2006-2015
To the editor,
Thank you to Hayleigh Gowans and Sarah Hall for the informative news articles about the CWA strike, farmers and minimum wage, and an earlier article on two railroad freight hubs.
You are true reporters providing details, not opinions. Keep up the good work.
To the editor,
While I appreciate views to the contrary, the Village of Fayetteville Board of Trustees and the mayor had to make a decision about the over-population of deer in the area. The decision was the right one. Last week, a Letter to the Editor chastised the mayor for being “proud” of killing deer. What the mayor was proud of, in my opinion, was that the strategy that the village selected yielded results that were entirely consistent with the goal. There were no problems; there were no mistakes.
Nobody “celebrates” the killing of deer, but the modern suburban reality has favored deer and has eliminated deer predators. The result is an imbalance. The village elected officials chose to act on that unhealthy imbalance and it would seem that a majority of residents approved of that choice, including me.
My property was used to bait and kill the deer. I was not “happy” about that, but I was very willing to participate knowing that the deer meat was going to be sent to the Central New York Food Bank. I went out of my way to verify that this promise was honored. Fayetteville village residents should be happy that the mayor and the board took pro-active action to help achieve balance with respect to the deer population in the village.
DAVID B. VICKERS
I am a reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican at Eagle News. I report on topics ranging from town and village government, business, news and features. I am a 2014 graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications and have a degree in Journalism and a minor in Psychology.