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Manhasset Public Library Budget Hearing

Library Election Results

The 2011-12 Library Budget Passed

Yes:  244

No:   121

 Robert A. Carrozzo was elected trustee for a 5-year term

Robert A. Carrozzo - 271

David Ehrlich - 99

The total voting machine count was 413, apparently some only voting for candidates, some only voting for the budget.

The Public Budget Hearing of the Manhasset Public Library was held Monday, April 4, prior to the trustee election and budget vote on April 13. Few community members attended the meeting, although more than last year, a welcome trend.

The budget passed 244 to 121 and Robert Carrozzo was elected trustee for a 5-year term over David Ehrlich.

The budget statement included nine categories with 22 subcategories: postage ($6,000) and telephone ($16,000), received the same one line entry as salaries ($1,778,046) and building maintenance ($161,300). It was a two-column statement, “Current 2010-2011” and “Proposed 2011-2012.” A third column would have been helpful indicating the actual amount or percent the line item had increased or decreased.

The Total Tax, $4,659,705, showed an increase of $131,611 over last year’s budget of $4,528,094. The number included the debt service, this year in the amount of $1,110,294 or $13,794 more than last year.

When Trustee Heidi McNamara began her budget summary she noted they had simplified the presentation this year by combining a number of lines. For example, she indicated under “Salaries and Benefits,” where last year they had listed “every little detail,” currently under salaries and benefits it is the figure for all salaries regardless of whether they are clerical or professional. The same was true under the sub-heads “Health Insurance” and “Pension Plan,” one entry includes all. Under “Salaries and Benefits” McNamara said there is very little they can do, the entries are fixed costs, and represent the largest expenditure. The budget message stated, “Mandated healthcare and pension contributions this year alone constitute a 3.1 percent increase over last year’s operating budget.”

The total for Salaries and Benefits (salaries, health insurance, pension plan, payroll taxes and insurance) decreased from $2,728,899 last year to $2,715,221in the current budget.

Materials (books, electronic media, online databases, periodicals and microfilm) also decreased from $239,560 to $225,300. Under Materials McNamara said they spoke with the various department heads and vetted what needs to be spent to ensure the community receives the type of service they are accustomed to receivng.

Operating expenses increased by $26,284 or from $236,606 last year to $262,890 for the current year. Operating Expenses are almost fixed, she said, “We do review it throughout the year to make sure nothing is out of line.”

Why, in such a new building, is furniture being replaced, asked a resident. “Equipment and Furniture” showed an increase of over $7,000, in a line item of $22,600. The response was that the line also includes replacement of outdated computers, not necessarily furniture.

There was a question regarding the increase in “Professional Fees,” from $36,500 to $65,000. It was said, in part, it is in anticipation of legal fees resulting from the employee contract that expired June 30, 2010, and is at an impasse. A mediator has been assigned through PERB (Public Employees Relations Board). Professional fees, it was said, will also be spent on legal counsel and consulting as regards the building.

“Programs” has decreased from $85,230 to $75,650, and, it was asked, why is it lower if there is such focus on driving people to use the library. More groups are booking the library for their own events—SEPTA, MWCABC and the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce were mentioned—and local talent is being used. Trustees said the numbers reflect no negative impact on programming.

“Building and Maintenance” (utilities, maintenance, custodial supplies, insurance) showed a much larger increase of $94,360 in part due to two new line entries-Building Management System ($60,000) and Renovation/Equipment Replacement Fund ($20,000) neither of which appear in last year’s budget. The footnote explains the library trustees have provided for a Building Management System, which will reduce expenses for each year going forward, and a Renovation/Equipment Replacement Fund, to begin providing a reserve for replacing building components at the end of their useful life.

Questions from the public began with the Building Management System. Apparently, the Carrier Corp. has a proprietary contract, and trustees want the opportunity to put bids out for repairs to lower costs in an open source system. Heating and cooling is approaching the end of its warranty with the company and trustees stated they believed they could save around $25,000 a year without the existing contract.

“Building and Maintenance” is what it takes to run a 42,000 square foot building and, trustees said, the building is now 6 years old and they are starting to see those things that appear as a building settles.

The library uses a consulting engineer to help make decisions on the maintenance of the building. The library allocates 10 to 20 hours at a time and the consultant works off that. It was said certain venting was not done properly and there are recurring roof issues.

The Renovation/Equipment Replacement Fund made sense, they said, as equipment starts breaking down; it is, they agreed, an effort to smooth those expenses over time.

Total Operating Expenses are $3,615,711, an increase of $92,706; less anticipated receipts of $66,300 this year as opposed to last year’s $91,411; leaves a Total Operating Budget of $3,549,411 compared to last year’s $3,431,549. After adding Debt Service of $1,110,294 currently, compared to last year’s $1,096,500, the Total Tax as stated earlier is $4,659,705, an increase of $131,611 over last year’s budget of $4,528,094.

What is the status of the search for a new library director after the departure of Marion Robertson, at the helm of the library for 24 years? It is a Civil Service position, a trustee explained, and therefore, complicated, as the position must be published, and, by law, there must be three individuals to choose from. Anne Marie Moore, Dept. Head of Adult Reference, has stepped into the void and at the budget hearing received high praise from the library board.

Was the director’s salary included in the current budget? Yes, the trustees reported, it was.