Gloversville Public Library budget proposition passes

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Signs direct voters into Gloversville Public Library to cast their ballots in the library election, Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

GLOVERSVILLE — A proposed $553,695 tax levy by the Gloversville Public Library passed Tuesday, 139 to 55.

The proposal was a $50,000 increase over the library’s 2021 levy, which breaks down to roughly six cents per thousand of assessed value, and accounts for 81% of the library’s revenue, according to the library. However, the facility’s total revenues only account for 77.42% of its expenses.

Library Director Valerie Acklin said the library has a goal of turning its deficit budget around in the next few years.

“The board is adamant about turning that around with as little burden on our community as possible, which is why the levy doesn’t close the gap,” she said via email.

According to the library, $680,548.13 of its $885,048.13 budget is staff salaries and benefits. It says in its public hearing presentation, given April 19, that the state-mandated increase of minimum wage to $15 per hour continues to be a challenge. Another piece of that puzzle is added part-time staff in order to qualify for additional grant revenue, the library said.

While nearly 72% of the 194 voters supported the proposition, voter turnout was still lower than average numbers seen before the coronavirus pandemic, usually 250 to 300 people vote. However, those who cast ballots are still a small percentage of the roughly 9,900 eligible voters. One voter, who would not share her name, shared frustration about the date of the election not being better publicized. She claimed that she checked the Leader-Herald every day and the Daily Gazette as well. She ended up asking someone from the city when it was, she said.

Acklin said the library began the public conversation about the proposition and the election in mid-February. The library posted on its Facebook page three separate times about the election and tax levy, once on the monthly calendar, then promoting the public hearing, then finally the election day itself. Information has also been available on the library website and signage has been placed at the desk when patrons enter the building.

Two board of trustee seats were also on the ballot Tuesday with two incumbents running for the positions. Chris Pesses was elected to the five-year term and Dick Carlon won the one-year term.

By Andrew Pugliese

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