The vote is to change the status of the Library from a town library to a school district public Library.
It simply means that the Library is changing its charter from being a town to a school district public Library.
Currently the Library is dependent on funding approved by the Town Board comprised of elected officials who may or may not be supportive of the Library’s mission in the community. As a school district Library the public "owns" the Library and the trustees are elected and the budget approved by school district voters. This provides the taxpayers much more control of the Library, its management and funding.
The Library is funded 90% by New Hartford taxpayers through the Town of New Hartford. The balance of the budget has come from New York State, Oneida County, grants, fundraising efforts, donations, and contributions. NY State funding has been progressively reduced over the years, and after 2012 Oneida County stops funding altogether.
School district voters will now approve the Library budget and the school will collect and forward the proceeds to the Library. The Town of New Hartford funding will be removed from the Town Budget and be replaced by this new system.
No, what New Hartford residents are currently paying will be included in the new budget. However, there is a proposed increase to the budget, necessary to not only sustain the current Library operation, but add the additional days, hours, circulation materials, programs, and availability that residents are requesting. The current $450,000 allocation for the Library contained in the Town budget will be eliminated.
First, the current budget has been steadily reduced over the years as costs have risen, and it cannot sustain the current operation. (See Chart C.) Secondly, this has prevented the Library from keeping up to date with prevailing standards commensurate with the increased circulation and use. (One example is not only additional computers but hardware upgrades and software updates for existing equipment.) Third, there are many additional requests by New Hartford residents that this budget will help fulfill, not all, but many.
Currently New Hartford residents pay an average of 12¢ a day, this would add an additional 11¢ a day, or 23¢ a day total. Based on an average $150,000 home value in New Hartford. Less than a quarter. Compare that to what it cost just for one cup of coffee a day!
The New Hartford Public Library has always been funded primarily by Town of New Hartford taxpayers. Town funding was fairly consistent but has steadily decreased in the past few years due to economic conditions and Town budget issues. On the other hand Library use and circulation have grown steadily and disproportionally, utility, maintenance, and goods and services costs have increased annually. The proposed budget is based on two things. One, bringing the budget up to par to continue to deliver the same services it is currently, but more importantly adding the additional services that New Hartford residents have been requesting.
The new budget answers the requests of New Hartford residents and includes opening 7 days a week, opening more hours each day, providing more books, ebooks, magazines, periodicals, adult and children’s programs, community room availability and more. This requires more staff time, more utility expense, and budget for the requested materials. (See Chart D that illustrates what this budget will provide.)
A small percentage of Library funds have come from NY State, Oneida County, grants, donations, contributions and fundraising. NY State funding has been progressively reduced over the years, and after 2012 Oneida County stops funding altogether.
Sadly, not only will the increased services that New Hartford residents are asking for not be provided, current services including days, hours, circulation, programs, materials, and staff will need to be cut even further. The current budget cannot sustain the days open, hours open, the staff, and the increasing costs for utilities, maintenance, and circulation materials. Technology including computer hardware and software cannot be upgraded and updated. Furthermore there is no guarantee that the Town of New Hartford will not continue to reduce funding or altogether eliminate it, virtually closing the Library.
Yes, this will make the New Hartford Public Library independent of the Town of New Hartford and truly a community run public Library. Funding will be independent and consistent for years to come. This will remove the uncertainty of what funds the Library can count on to meet the needs of New Hartford residents and plan its operations accordingly.
No! This will be a flat budget amount each year with no increases. If in years to come the Library needs to consider an increase it must be put up for vote and approved by Town of New Hartford residents. Through wise fiscal stewardship this budget will provide the financial stability necessary to operate the Library annually. It is planned to cover future growth with an increased focus on donations, fundraising, and potential gifts and endowments so no further increases in public support will be necessary.
The New Hartford Public Library budget is far below similar libraries in upstate New York in proportion to their circulation and use. (See Chart A Public Funding Per Capita and Chart B Upstate Library Public Funding Vs. Circulation that compares New Hartford to similar libraries in upstate NY.) The public/municipal contribution through public funding is also far lower in New Hartford.
Due to the extraordinarily high use of the New Hartford Public Library there are 5 full-time employees. The current Library Director (Retiring this year after 20 years of service.) earns $48,000 plus benefits, compared to an average of $66,000 plus benefits for the position at similar libraries. The Assistant Library Director (Also retiring this year after 30 years of service.) earns $37,600 plus benefits compared to an average of $48,750 plus benefits for the position at similar libraries. Both positions will need to be replaced with candidates in the average salary ranges. The remaining 3 full-time employees earn an average of $28,000. Part-time hourly Library Aides working the circulation desk earn between $9.50-$9.80 per hour. The 10% salary increase in the proposed budget will become effective in 2014. Since 2009 Library employees have had one salary increase of 3%.
Of course many use the Library for books, music, dvds, magazines and other periodicals. Others use the computers extensively for homework, research, job search, study, and adult computer classes. People attend special programs for children, adults, and special interest events featuring monthly artist displays and receptions. What is especially noteworthy is that over 150 groups use the Library’s 3 study rooms and 2 community rooms for meetings including various clubs, organizations, support groups and more. From children to seniors the Library provides a multitude of programs and services daily.
Users are continually asking for the Library to open 7 days a week and offer longer hours. More books, especially bestsellers, more magazines, newspapers, and other periodicals top the list. More and newer computers and software are requested constantly. Local community groups that use the Library for meetings are asking for more availability, tutors that are assisting students have asked the same. The Library is willing to fill these requests, we just need the funding to do so.
Immediately! The Library will reopen on Wednesdays and look to expand hours as shown. Although the new funding does not begin until 2014 the Library trustees are committed to providing the additional requested services as quickly as possible.
Currently the Town Board appoints a Board of Trustees who serve terms of 5 years and are responsible to town government and the Board of Regents.
Yes in two major ways. First, now school district voters will elect a Board of Trustees who serve terms of 5 years. Secondly, the trustees will now be directly responsible to the school district voters and the Board of Regents.
Thursday August 23rd from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
At the New Hartford Public Library 2 Library Lane (Oxford Road)