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Nanuet Library Board Begins Budget Talks

The Board needs to find $46,733 worth of items to cut from the budget or override the tax cap. The public budget hearing is on May 1 and budget papers are attached to this article as PDFs

 

Budget season is in full swing. The Nanuet schools just did their and the met on Tuesday night to discuss their proposed budget 2012-13. 

Like the school board, the library is also facing difficult decisions because of the tax cap. 

“(The tax cap and fund balance) are the two items that we need to concentrate on when we look at the budget and what the board’s final decision is going to be,” said Joseph Modafferi, the library’s accountant. 

Because the board needed to find out where to cut almost $47,000 from the budget, they decided to schedule another board meeting to continue discussions after gathering more information. Budget papers are attached to this article as PDFs

Tax Cap

“Libraries like other institutions are subject to the new 2 percent tax cap. We can override it if we feel it’s necessary,” said Ellen Kimmel, board member.

“Our tax cap is … $56,267, which means we cannot raise more than $56,267 more than we did the year before.”

He stressed that it is not a cap on the tax rate, but is a cap on the (dollar) amount of taxes the board can raise.

“So in Nanuet … your taxes will go up even if you stay under the 2 percent by a substantial amount because the base that the taxes are spread over has been reduced," said Modafferi.

“The state sets what each organization’s pension contribution has to be and unfortunately, this is something that institutions have no control over,” said Kimmel. "This makes budgeting and planning very difficult."

Fund Balance

The fund balance is the amount of money that is set aside and saved for the library.

"Until recently, we have been almost putting most of the fund balance back. The year we’re currently working on, unlike prior years, we’ve been able to put the whole amount back," said Modafferi. "The current year, we’re only going to be able to put back $25,000 of the $200,000 that we used from fund balance to balance this year’s budget to keep it down below the (tax cap)." 

At the end of the current year, Modafferi estimates that there will be approximately $355,000 of fund balance to over the next couple of years. However, he also estimates that the library will "most likely use $175,000 actually this year.”

“We’ve maintained lower taxes because of the reserve and at some point, the reserve is going to be tapped out and people are going to have to start paying what it really costs, unfortunately (or give patrons less services),” said Board Member Arthur Winoker. 

"We consider allocation of fund balance a revenue to help balance our budget. I’ve decreased it to $150,000. Next year, I'll reduce it to $100,000 and then$50,000," said Modafferi. “At some point, like at home, if you use up your savings account and you’re out of work, it’s gone."

Budget Breakdown

Major increases in the budget are:

  • $103,000 increase in real estate taxes
  • $25,000 increase in “electronic reference & e-books," which was a new line in the 2012-13 budget by taking $25,000 out of the “Books” line.
  • $40,000 increase in personnel
  • $18,000 increase in Rent & R&M of Building and Equipment Contingencies and $20,000 increase in Building Construction Contingencies because the maintenance required for an aging building.

Major decreases in the budget are:

  • $50,000 decrease in the allocation of the fund balance
  • $30,000 decrease in the books line
  • $20,000 decrease in the library addition study

"We have a $51,000 increase in expenditures. The problem is, we have $103,000 increase in the tax levy, which is $46,733 above the tax cap," said Modafferi.

The board’s two options are to find $46,733 worth of items to cut or override the tax cap. Some libraries have chosen to override the cap and others have not.

Options the board discussed included:

  • Doing less repairs
  • Cutting back staff hours or number of personnel
  • Cut programming and/or books
  • Cut or change hours of operations, such as closing earlier on a certain weekday. 
  • Lowering the construction contingency by $10,000
  • Revisit charging program participants for craft supplies

 

Payroll is up because Modafferi under-budgeted some hours and there are no increases to anyone other than steps, in which people are receiving about $17-18,000 just by going up a step or a 5 percent increase in their salaries.

There are two new lines on this budget that haven’t been here before:

  • Building Construction Contingencies,” which is for repairs to the current building since the new building is not feasible and not being built
  • (Ramapo Catskill Library System) RCLS service fee is a new fee all libraries in its network have to pay

“Personnel, it looks like we’re down but that’s because we’re one payroll less this year than we were last year at this time."

“The rent, repair maintenance is up because we had work done to the front of the building this year,” said Modafferi, referring to to the front entranceway and parking lot in July 2011.

Modafferi requested a budget adjustment with an increase on the line ‘Grants & Misc.” because the library received $2,705 donation from the ‘Friends of the Nanuet Library’ in January.

The ‘Friends of the Nanuet Library’ fundraises for items and activities supplementing the library, such as the two new trash receptacles out front that match the new benches.

Budget papers are attached to this article as PDFs

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