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Friday, March 6, 2015
Rockville Centre Library slashes Sunday services
Tax cap and high costs force major cuts
Christina Daly/Herald
Two women were robbed, and one was attacked, near the Rockville Centre station this weekend.

The story of next year’s Rockville Centre Public Library budget is one of tight margins and careful spending.

The proposed budget, totaling almost $3.25 million — a 2 percent increase over the current spending plan — is designed to combat rises in utility, maintenance and retirement costs with significant cuts in spending. With employee retirement costs ballooning by nearly $74,000 and necessary repairs to equipment and the 50-year-old facilities accounting for another $8,500, the library’s Board of Trustees cut capital spending by more than 33 percent.

“We had to reach the number that the state gave us, so we’ll buy less,” said Library Director Maureen Chiofalo, referring to the property tax cap that prevents the library from raising taxes more than 2 percent. “We can still make it work; there’s just not going to be anything extra.”

The facility’s major program cut will be in its Sunday services. According to Bill Murray, the trustee responsible for preparing the budget, keeping the building closed on Sunday will allow the library to continue purchasing new books and materials.

“We’ve always run a very tight ship on the budget, but when they brought in this mandated tax cap, it forced us to stop Sunday services,” Murray said. “Normally, the library is open for short hours on Sundays during the school year, but this year we’re keeping it closed. It’ll save us $50,000 to $55,000. For us to make the numbers, this was the only way to make it work.”

An additional concern is the Nassau Library System, which connects all 54 public libraries in Nassau County. The system provides numerous services that Rockville Centre library patrons use, including summer reading programs, online databases, interlibrary deliveries, consulting services, staff development and e-book access through the Nassau Digital Doorway program. But after major cuts to the NLS budget by the state, all of the public libraries in the system had to increase payments to preserve its services. In Rockville Centre, that increase amounted to nearly $6,000.

“The state cut [the NLS] budget back to 1997 numbers …,” Chiofalo said. “We don’t want to do this increase, but if we don’t, it won’t exist.”

Comments

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WJosiah

Why are employee retirement costs ballooning 10x more that the cost of building repair, NLS and electricity/phone and insurance.

Is this a library or a retirement program for a limited few that keeps some books on the shelves. Can we increase the amount by which employees contribute to their retirement and health costs? Lets shift all new employees to a 401k type program instead of saddling the taxpayers with an open ended pension liability.

Thank you

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 | Report this
victor

I was cut off when posting a comment and am trying once again;I think more transparency is necessary in the library Boaqrd. I asked to see the current budget and what the salary was of the Director and had to file a Freedom of Information demand with the attorney for the the recent budget now being replaced and the salary of the Direcdtor when I read a appareently unreliable comment from one of the incumbent library trustees on the ballot tomorrow. He said the Director made less than a teacher. The office of the RVC Superintendant stated the range of salaries for teachers in between at the top less than $120,000 as I recallo. The Direcdtor supplied her salary and confirmed hers was now over $127,500 per annum which did not include perks. While the Director earns more than $127,000 per annum plus perks, I think it is too large an amount for such a small community library- The Sunday hours being eliminated, I am informed will cost $55,000 per annum. This Director can be part timer (especially since she seems to be out of the office many days when I try to reach her) and the savings can permit Sunday to remain open , especially when it is the only day for some parents which they can take their children to the library with them and help them use that time for their school work as well. I think that there are many other economies thatg should be looked up and made available to the tax payers. I also have asked to be able to reach the trustees and they fail to give a number or return calls when messages are left with the Director. I decided to run for trustee and will respond to the calls and suggestions of the taxpayers - have been and am an attorney in a number of states including NY and a part time arbitrator-My career is built on solving tax payer and client needs. Thank you for letting me participate in this posting.Bill Victor

Monday, May 20, 2013 | Report this
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