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Proposed Library Budget Up 2.7 Percent

If the Farmingdale Public Library budget proposal is approved by voters next week, it will mean an annual tax increase of about $200 for homeowners, according to library director Debbie Podolski.

“It’s the best bang for their buck,” Podolski said. The budget calls for a 2.74 increase, which Podolski emphasizes is below the maximum allowable increase under New York State’s Property Tax Cap. “When you think about everything the community can get for $200, it’s really a value,” she said. “Just one magazine costs $7 on a newsstand.”

The library has plenty of magazines for patrons to peruse, as well as many other interesting programs. The director says that three childrens’ programs are offered daily. Some of the popular events are a reptile presentation and a performance by children’s music singer Darlene Graham. Podolski points out that Farmingdale residents can access such programs for free, while attending similar events might cost $20-$25 per ticket.

“”We’re using our budget money in the best way possible to give the people what they’re using and what’s popular,” she says.

In addition to children and adult programs, there are also bus trips. Recently, the library had a bus trip to see Nice Work If You Can Get It. Other services offered include newly implemented downloadable books and downloadable music of all genres. There are also staff members on hand to help library patrons learn how to operate a computer as well as access online databases.

“There’s so much information online and our librarians are trained to help you find it,” said Podolski. “We’re better than Google.”

In addition, high school students often volunteer at the library to receive community service credit. Local civic groups such as the Kiwanis Club, the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce and AARP Seniors make use of the library’s meeting rooms. Individuals also stop by to just spend time in the well-maintained facility.

“It’s really a great place to sit and relax,” said the director. “It’s a beautiful building and it even has a fish tank and vending machines.”

According to Podolski, the increase in the budget is due primarily to increases in health care costs, mandated retirement contributions and an increase in salaries. She added that with the proposed budget, programs would basically stay the same with a few tweaks based on the popularity of some programs. Should the budget be defeated, Podolski said the library would revert to last year’s budget,

The library budget vote will be held at the library, located on 116 Merritts Road from 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9, downstairs in the gallery.

In addition, Rosemary Trudden is seeking re-election for a five-year term on the library board. She is running unopposed.