Annual(ish) Budget Clarification

The following is a general announcement I shared on Nextdoor on Sunday, May 31. With the upcoming budget vote, this time conducted entirely with mail-in ballots, I felt the need to address a few comments about our library’s funding. Please remember to cast your ballots – they’re due June 9!

Hi, for those that don’t know me, I’m the Public Library Director in Hamilton. Around this time every year, I feel the need to communicate a few details about our budget in an attempt to help explain the need for your votes this week.

We are a municipal library, meaning that our building is owned and maintained by the Village. They also assist us in administrative functions, we are considered a government entity (not a nonprofit), and, in our case, we receive funding from the Village. With no public libraries in Brookfield, Madison, and Lebanon, we consider them to be included in our service district, and all of those municipalities also contribute to our budget (as well as the Town of Hamilton). On top of that, we receive funding from private donations, New York State, and Madison County. Together, these account to about 45% of our annual operating budget. The remainder comes from taxes on the school board’s proposition. 

Each year, we ask for a modest increase of about 3% (which works out to be around $3,000) to our funds that come from the school district vote to compensate for things like: mandatory raises for minimum wage workers, increase on costs to supplies/shipping, and cover the cost of unexpected expenses (plastic sneeze guards for the circulation desk, cleaning supplies, PPE, etc.). We ask for an increase with the tax levy because we would be unable to increase our budget otherwise. The State, County, and local municipalities, while we appreciate their generosity, are unable to increase our funds. If anything, my concern is that we will see cuts from these departments rather than increases.

I hope this begins to address some concerns you may have with our budget. I am grateful to work in a community that has shown overwhelming support of our library budget proposition every year, and hope that this year, while elections may be conducted differently, the outcome remains the same. 

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day. 

Oh, and starting June 1 at 10 a.m., OUR BOOK DROP WILL BE OPEN AND ACCEPTING RETURNS! Stay tuned for other exciting announcements!

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