The New City Library Board of Trustees approved a proposed budget of $5,089,075 for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2013 and ending June 30, 2014. The proposed budget is 1.23 percent higher than the current spending plan of $5,027,350. It would increase the tax levy paid by property owners by 1.3 percent.
The budget vote along with the election for three trustee seats on the board will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 12.
At Thursday night's meeting, Board Personnel & Finance Committee Chair Jeffrey Greenberg said they worked to limit the increase. The amount raised by taxes would rise from $4,925,000 to $4,989,025.
“We’re asking taxpayers for a very modest tax increase,” he said.
Greenberg explained the library had seen a cost savings from the unfilled executive director and business manager positions because salaries and benefits did not have to be paid. He said the money in the library’s renovation fund would be used possibly in the coming year for updating the audio-video section, repairing the roof and fixing the parking lot.
Trustee Anthony Feliciano asked if there was a way to avoid increasing taxes completely. Trustee Tom Ninan followed that up, asking if the amount could be decreased because of the $25,000 grant awarded by the state. Greenberg and Trustee Terri Thal said the state grant should not be considered part of the budget until the money is actually received.
Ninan asked, “This year why can’t we have a zero percent (increase)?”
He said because there was $250,000 in a Smith Barney account, it was “unthinkable” for him to vote to increase the tax levy. Interim Library Director Marianne Silver explained some of that money was earmarked for such as $125,000 for updating the audio-visual area and possible expense of $100,000 to repave the upper and lower parking lots.
The budget line items which showed the greatest increases were retirement benefits by 15.08 percent, Worker’s Compensation by 8.3 percent and membership dues by 27.77 percent. The line items with the most significant decreases were grants by 16.67 percent, periodicals by 20.75 percent and museum passes by 22.22 percent.
The motion for the proposed budget passed by a four to two vote.
In his Building & Grounds Committee report to the board, Feliciano said they would look at getting bids to repair the two levels of the parking lot separately.
“We took out a walk out to the parking lot; there are some dangerous potholes,” he said.
Feliciano said in the lower section there is a movable steel plate over a large hole.