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Library Budget Hearing Highlights Higher Legal Costs

The library budget hearing on April 10 didn’t draw much of a crowd. The wife of a trustee was there along with the candidate running for one of the two open library trustee positions. One couple, the Trombetta’s, asked questions and had the community’s back.

Angela Trombetta questioned why legal fees were higher and was told it was due to ongoing contract negotiations with the staff. She was also informed there was a separate issue with an employee.

The Trombetta’s asked whether there was decent attendance on Friday nights as they were surprised those hours had been extended when Sunday programs had been terminated. Many arrive on Friday evening, said library director Maggie Gough. Sunday hours were abolished, it was said, because the staff is paid double. The Trombetta’s requested that attendance be tracked and suggested a section of the website could be for residents’ concerns, and, if at some time in the future there was sufficient interest, Sunday programs would be restored.

The budget represents a 2 percent tax increase, within the tax cap. Proposed budget totals for 2013-2014 (followed by the 2012-2013 budget amounts for comparison) are: operating expenses $3,889,748  ($3,784,497); less anticipated receipts $95,350 ($83,680); total operating budget $3,749,398 ($3,700,817); debt service $1,053,444 ($1051,969) resulting in a total tax of $4,847,842 ($4,752,786).

The pie chart provided in literature mailed to the community indicates: salaries and benefits account for 57 percent of the 2013-2014 budget; debt service 21 percent; building and maintenance 9 percent; operating expenses 5 percent; materials 5 percent and programs 3 percent.

Last year 12,789 had library cards and patrons visited the library 215,312 times. Online services were used 88,595 times, 107,974 books were checked out as were 107,374 audio-visual materials. And, 630 adult programs attracted 26,327 patrons while 268 programs for children and teens were attended by 6,458 patrons.

Under professional fees, accounting went from $30,000 to $20,000 and building consultant from $20,000 to $5,000 while legal fees climbed from $30,000 last year to a proposed $60,000 in the proposed budget.

The current library board of trustees includes: Heidi McNamara, president; Donald O’Brien, financial secretary; Robert Carrozzo, trustee and Joanne L. Keston, trustee. The board is currently short one trustee as Elisa Paone resigned from her position before the completion of her term.

The Manhasset Library Annual Budget Vote and Trustee Election will be held in the Community Room of the library on Wednesday, April 17, from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.  All registered Manhasset voters are encouraged to cast their votes on both the budget and the two trustees running for two trustee positions, one a full term and one to complete an unexpired term.