Library budget OK’d

GLOVERSVILLE – Voters Tuesday approved the Gloversville Public Library’s 2016-17 budget, which is lower than the current library budget but includes a 42 percent tax-levy increase.

The $505,098 budget was approved 247-152. It’s down 2.3 percent from the $517,276 budget for 2015-16.

However, the budget includes a tax levy of $393,695, an increase from the current levy of $276,321. The levy will increase the tax rate by 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. For a city home assessed at $100,000, the total annual tax increase would be about $17.

The levy increase is due to library foundation money going to support a planned $7 million renovation at the library. This resulted in a reduction in the amount of money the foundation contributes to the library budget.

The renovation is scheduled to begin later this year.

Library Director Barbara Madonna said she was pleased with the turnout of the voting.

“I think that we were all very concerned that this vote go through. A number of items of the building projects hinge on our ability to use the foundation’s income for support of that project,” Madonna said. “And if this vote had not passed, we would have been backed up against a wall in having to rethink how are we going to move that project forward in the fall.”

Budget funding from the foundation for the 2016-17 fiscal year is set to decline by almost 80 percent, to $30,626.

Madonna said it’s unknown if the tax levy would decrease after full foundation funding is restored.

“Eventually, the foundation’s money will come back to our operating budget. When it comes back is going to determine what happens with the tax levy in the future,” she said. “As you know, costs are going up … and it’s potentially possible that when that foundation money comes back into the budget, we’re going to be at a point when we need all of it. We just won’t have to go back to the taxpayers for that support anymore.”

The library saw an increase in voters. Madonna said 160 people voted in the 2015-16 budget vote.

Madonna said a community of concerned citizens rallied around the library and got the word out about the vote.

“I think they did a good job of spreading the word to folks who have expressed interest in the library,” Madonna said. “I think we were able to make sure people were informed of the issues and informed of the facts, and they really stepped up and helped us out this year.”

Voters also selected current board member Elizabeth Batchelor and newcomer Lisa Buggeln for the library board. Current board member Craig Clark decided not to run again.

The building will undergo renovations on every floor. They include turning the basement into a children’s area with a teen room, and installing new heating and cooling systems, including replacing the building’s 112-year-old boiler. The library will become handicapped-accessible with an elevator and will provide a better layout for wheelchairs and strollers, library officials say.

Major renovations are expected to start this fall.

Kerry Minor cover Gloversville. She can be reached at [email protected].

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