By ASHLEY HELMS
Since residents will be tasked with approving or rejecting the final budget, the Mamaroneck Public Library’s Board of Trustees unveiled a 2014 budget proposal on Nov. 20.
The budget, as it stands, w-ould increase an average Mamaroneck household’s library taxes by about $12. This is due mostly to increased salaries for employees and rising healthcare costs, but library board officials say this is the lowest increase they have seen in several years.
The library’s current budget was passed last year and included a $16.20 increase in the average Mamaroneck household’s taxes; most of which went towards maintenance contracts for new library equipment that was still under warranty in 2011.
There will be no changes made to the 21 staff members and the budget is expected to stay under the state mandated 2 percent tax levy cap. If approved, the budget will take affect in June 2014.
Employee salaries are up to a total of $992,500 from $971,000 in 2013 and health insurance costs are up to $11,500 from $10,000 this year.
Residents must cast their vote every December in order to approve the library budget because the library is its own taxing entity in Mamaroneck.
The Mamaroneck Library has been a special library district since 1991, according to library board president Christine Love. To become a special library district, the measure had to be approved by the state legislature, and when it was, it granted the Mamaroneck Library the ability to impose a tax.
The exact percentage of a resident’s taxes that go towards the library is unknown, but it’s miniscule in comparison to school and municipal taxes.
About $154,000 in funds applied to the entire budget is expected to be taken out of the reserve balance in order to keep tax increases on residents minimized, Love said.
The library’s expansion and renovation project, which started in 2008, finished almost two years ago and Warner said the board will be able to estimate budgetary costs more effectively going forward now that repairs are behind them.
Renovations to the library included bringing in more advanced technology, including new computers, and a more comfortable area to be used as a community meeting or study room, as well as a coffee bar. A self-checkout station now stands near the exit as added convenience for guests.
“In 2012 and 2013, we were going through a shakedown phase. We didn’t know what expenses there would be,” Warner said.
In addition to books, the library boasts 35 computer stations with 21 designated for public, non-member use, according to Library Director Susan Riley. Three Amazon Kindles and three Barnes and Noble Nooks, which are electronic devices used for reading that take the place of an actual book, have been donated to the library over the last nine months for members to use.
The library also has a program that helps teach residents, or their children, how to use an iPad.
“We have an iPad bolted to a desk and kids have 20 minutes to use them and they’re programmed with different entertainment,” Riley said.
Residents can cast their vote for or against the library’s 2014 proposed budget and the trustee election on Dec. 11.
There are 11 members of the Library Board of Trustees and every year when the budget is voted on, residents also elect the trustees. Members serve three-year terms without pay.