Newark Public Library recently announced that Newark Central School District residents will vote on an 8-cent tax increase per $1,000 in assessed property value proposal to the library’s yearly tax funding from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 26 at Newark High School, 625 Peirson Ave.
The proposal amounts to an estimated $92 per $100,000 of assessed value on properties across NCSD, an $8.40 increase. For the average home assessed at $84,000, the tax increase to support the library would be $7.06 a year.
The Newark community relied heavily on the library throughout 2016, with 99,153 visitors, 92,701 items circulated and total program attendance of 7,268.
If the proposed funding is approved, benefits to the community include maintaining open hours of 56 hours per week with no disruptions to the current level of computer and internet access, tutoring and meeting room space availability; purchasing new books and other borrowable materials to meet demand; continuing programs for children, including story times, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten and the summer reading program; offering a tool library, one-on-one computer and technology training, advice and support; and continuing community outreach, such as on-site services at senior living facilities, adult craft programs and school visits.
If the referendum is not approved, the library will need to make difficult decisions about programs, services and materials, such as cutting back hours of operation to 46 hours per week; reducing programming for children, seniors and those in need of technology assistance; eliminating staff positions; and decreasing its materials budget, resulting in a reduction in books, DVDs and other new materials.
“We are committed to ensuring that residents continue to enjoy all of the educational, cultural and social benefits that go along with having a library that meets the needs of the community,” said Shawn McConnell, library director. “But the reality is that reductions in other income sources and rises in fixed costs would force us to scale back our programs, collections, operating hours, core services and staff unless we receive the proposed funding. We believe proceeding with the proposed 8-cent tax increase per $1,000 in assessed value is the right decision, and it comes after significant study of the needs of our community and deliberation about possible other alternatives.”
The library is offering an information meeting and a budget hearing so residents can learn more about the proposal and ask questions. The meetings will be from 1 to 2 p.m. April 29 or 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 4 at Newark Public Library, 121 High St.
All NCSD residents are eligible to vote. Absentee ballots will be available until May 9 and can be obtained from the NCSD office.
For information, call 315-331-4370, email smcconnell@newarklibrary.org or visit newarklibrary.org/vote.