The Great Neck Library Board of Trustees held a meeting to review the proposed 2019–20 budget at the Station Branch on Tuesday, March 12.
The draft was comprised of an operating budget proposal, personnel details, payroll tax revenue, employee benefits spending, retiree expense details and other supplemental schedules.
The meeting was called into session by President Rebecca Miller.
Business Manager Steve Kashkin began by explaining the basics of the budget, which was created to “provide the highest-quality library service to residents in a fiscally responsible manner.”
The budget was presented as a “first pass” at this public meeting, and residents were allowed to attend and share their thoughts.
The draft proposed is a rollover budget and requires no tax increases for the new budget. Total library tax receipts subject to a cap remain unchanged from the current budget.
Kashkin recommended no tax increase, as allowed by the tax cap, because the board had not expended its tax receipts at current levels nor does it think there is need for additional funding. He also recommended that the board not lower taxes, because of the Moody Aaa bond rating and favorable interest rates based, in large part, on assurances that its tax receipts were guaranteed not to drop below 2014 levels.
Trustee Dr. Barry Smith said that the board should raise taxes and put the revenues into STEM and other programs. Trustee Mimi Hu agreed with Smith that taxes should be raised. Library Director Denise Corcoran explained that it is a flat budget. There is a 2 percent cap on revenue rise, anything more goes to a public vote. PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) revenue comes from the school district.
Marietta DiCamillo, a former trustee, asked for printed material on staff salaries. The board members said that this would need to be redacted for the next meeting, due to privacy issues.
Membership in the Nassau Library System (NLS) was discussed. DiCamillo recommended that the Great Neck Library continue not to pay the fee to belong to NLS, because she felt that the more affluent communities were being penalized for their larger budget and population, and that a more equitable settlement could be reached. Another resident said that we should be part of it, because she likes using other libraries and feels that we are deprived of services if we do not.
Trustee Josie Pizer explained that Great Neck has a large budget, because it sustains four locations. It was agreed by both the board members and the residents that the cost of programs needs more transparency, and there is a need for an increase in programs for children, adults and seniors.
The current library board would like to invite the people who wrote the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State to come and train the trustees. They felt that the library needed a deep-dive training to bring the best practices to the library system. Miller then called a motion to adjourn the meeting.
The second budget workshop will be held on Tuesday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Main’s large multipurpose room.