Millbrook Library seeks public funds

Still less than average tax support

The trustees of the Millbrook Free Library are asking taxpayers to pony up an additional $84,000 on top of the $100,000 they currently pay in property taxes by approving a measure that will be the on ballot November 3.

Margot Peters, the library’s treasurer points out in the materials being circulated that even after the increase, the Millbrook Free Library will still be getting less than half its funds from taxpayers, whereas most the of the libraries in the Mid-Hudson system get 60% of their funds from taxpayers.

The library budget is $416,341.  $35,000, or 6% of it budget, is spent on acquisitions of materials. 60% of the budget is spent on staff.  The rest is spent on the building, supplies, fees and memberships.

Currently, the library gets 23% of its income from taxpayers. This is amongst the lowest public contribution in our area and comes to $21.09 per capita compared to the county average of $46.57.  Only Amenia is reported as lower in the county at $13.98; the highest is Red Hook at $163.18.  Connecticut averages $44.90 per capita for library taxes that typically fund 85% of library costs. 

The library has an endowment fund that provides about 30% of the library’s budget. Donations from fund-raising efforts are expected to bring in $82,000 or 19% of the budget.

Why now and why this much?  Now, because this year (2015) the library is operating at a deficit.  The deficit is being funded by drawing on savings from prior year’s surpluses.   The trustees are intent on operating on a break-even basis.  The amount is calculated by looking forward 10 years with a view to stabilizing the library’s finances so the library does not have to go back to taxpayers within the next decade.  

If the voters turn down the tax increase, the library flyers say the trustees will reduce hours and staffing.