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Preliminary Library Budget: Up 3.1 Percent

In the coming weeks, the trustees of the Great Neck Library will, in public sessions, grapple with honing the budget for fiscal year 2011. In the past four years, total expenditures were kept flat due to the fact that the library had operating surpluses that offset the increases. That is not the case for 2011. Revenues are down by 9 percent and expenses are up.

The Station Branch expansion would result in operational cost increases, which it appears that the board may officially approve soon, and were included in the budget. A Parkville expansion was also included in the budget. With these expansions, the operating budget would go up by 11.9 percent. These costs do not include the costs of renovation, which would come from reserves set aside for the branches.

In order to cover the 3.1 percent increase, the tax increase for homeowners would be 5.7 percent. For a home assessed at $1 million, the tax would go up by about $20.

The proposed $8,676,500 budget breaks down to 57 percent for total salaries; 10 percent for employee benefits; 20 percent for total building operations (utilities, rentals, insurance); 10 percent total materials and programs (books, audio recordings, periodicals and the like); 3 percent for total library operations (office supplies, telephone, audit/accounting fees, legal fees, etc.).

Various service cuts are being considered in order to save money. If the Main library were to open at 10 a.m. on Saturdays instead of 9 a.m., double shifts would not be needed, with a savings of $8,856. Cuts in Sunday hours could also reduce the budget by $8,955. Scheduling changes for circulation staff and reference staff would result in savings as well. Slicing into the materials and programs budget could result in total savings of $51,420.

Retirement incentives are also being considered as cost cutting measures that would affect next year as well as future budgets.

Another suggestion that would result in a monetary wash, would be to close Main on Fridays at 6 p.m. due to decreased usage there at that time and to increase the hours at Station on Fridays until 9 p.m.

The preliminary budget document is available online and at Main and all branches. The next budget meeting where these issues will be discussed is Tuesday, March 23 at 8 p.m. at Main. The finalized budget will be adopted at the April 20 meeting.