LEWISBORO, N.Y. – Lewisboro Library officials are seeking a budget increase of slightly more than $9,000 for 2013, up 2.65 percent from the current budget.
The Town Board is in the process of preparing its 2013 budget and is meeting with its department heads to discuss their spending requests. The board has asked each department to create budgets that are 2 percent lower than 2012.
However, Library Director Cindy Rubino defended the library’s proposed increase saying it is still operating at a barebones level.
“The major increases are out of the [library board of directors’] control – things like health benefits and insurance,” she said. “But we are making a good faith effort to cut our costs and still provide the services.”
Health benefits would cost $21,255 in 2013, up 8.2 percent from 2012.
The total proposed library budget is $469,380, of which $354,704 would come from taxpayers. The remaining $114,676 would be raised by the library.
Besides health benefits and insurance, another major expenditure that library faces is the $36,000 it will be required to pay the Westchester Library System in 2013 - an increase of 5.47 percent.
“We are also asking for a 1 percent salary increase,” Rubino said. “There’s been no increase in four years and I think we are overdue.”
With that 1 percent increase, the proposed 2013 budget would spend $263,968 on salaries.
Library officials said that some of its revenue was lost when its annual winetasting fundraiser fell apart this fall, but said they were attempting to make up for it with other events. A jazz concert is planned in conjunction with a “Taste of Lewisboro” food event for later this month, and officials said they are looking into holding a dance next spring.
“We are trying to inch our way back to where we can run a really good operation,” said Gary Page, president of the library board of trustees. “We are actively trying to get people to contribute to the budget.”
Library officials also pointed out that circulation has increased 3.8 percent so far in 2012 and was up 3.4 percent in 2011, yet total local public support for the Lewisboro Library via taxes stands at $27.49 per capita – last out of the 38 libraries in the Westchester Library System. The county average per capita is $86.54.
Deputy Town Supervisor Peter DeLucia said that while he supports the library and appreciates the job it does, the town needs to closely guard its bottom line in the current economic climate
“The Town Board has to figure out a way to support the library as best as it can,” he said, “but no [other department heads] are asking for an increase. We are asking for a 2 percent decrease across all the departments. Our main concern is we are looking at a very tight budget and we are trying to get our coffers back on track. We’ve been on the verge of bankruptcy.”
One of the budget line items that came under scrutiny was the audit the library undergoes every other year. The cost for the audit for the 2013 budget is $5,000.
Town Supervisor Peter Parsons said library officials should examine how much benefit they get from the audit.
“I would take a look at how much you’ve learned from each audit and if that learning is now down to zero, you might want to consider [cutting it],” he said.
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