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Library officials plan meeting with town to discuss budget needs

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MASSENA — Massena Public Library officials will meet with town officials Oct. 23 for budget talks after they proposed a $714,752 spending plan for 2014 that called for $671,800 in revenue from taxes and town officials countered with $613,068.

That would mean more use of the library’s fund balance for the second consecutive year. Library officials used $55,000 in 2013, leaving the total fund balance at $183,017, and they are anticipating a 2014 fund balance of $128,000, according to figures prepared by library Director Elaine A. Dunne-Thayer.

“Keep in mind what adds to the fund balance is yearly surpluses. We’re already bare bones,” she told members of the library’s board of trustees Tuesday night.

The fund balance projected for 2014 represents almost 18 percent of this year’s proposed budget, almost double the 10 percent maximum that the state comptroller’s office recommends for municipalities.

“We’re at the second-highest fund balance we’ve had since ’06,” said board President Mark Englert after seeing a comparison of fund balances from 2006 to 2014 that Ms. Dunne-Thayer had prepared.

Coupled with the request for $671,800 from the town, the library’s 2014 budget calls for $42,952 of nonmunicipal revenue, including $14,500 from fines and fees, $3,427 from the state, $9,000 from the town of Louisville and $16,000 from other sources.

On the expense side, it is anticipating $277,623 for salaries, $61,377 for retirement and more than $233,000 in other employee costs, including health insurance. It is asking for $4,000 for equipment, $50,000 for resources, $20,000 for supplies and $63,100 for maintenance.

“I don’t think this is a bad budget,” board member John Bain said. However, he said, given a drop in circulation numbers, he would like to see $5,000 more devoted to resources so the library could continue to build its collection. That was a $45,000 line item in the 2013 spending plan.

“I’m worried about circulation numbers dropping,” he said.

Board Secretary Emily Hutchison agreed.

“I’m saying we go to the budget meeting and in addition to the $613,068, ask for $5,000 to bring the resources up. I think the conversation with the board and community is, this is what we need,” she said.

Councilmen Albert N. Nicola and Charles A. Raiti, the town’s liaisons to the board of trustees, said library officials are welcome to ask for additional funding for resources.

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