What is a 414 vote?
Chapter 414 of the laws of 1995 in New York State enables libraries of any type to put their budget up for a public vote, held on Election Day, to establish the municipal budget appropriation for the library. Should the vote pass, the municipality will fund the library at the approved level.
How many votes are needed for passage of the library district proposal?
A majority of those cast in the election.
Will this impose a new tax?
No, this is not a new tax. This is a slight increase to the tax you already pay to support the library.
How much will this cost?
The total increase in cost, for each homeowner, will vary according to the assessment. Based upon current rates, the requested increase to the library’s budget of $60,000 per year, will result in the following:
Assessment of $100,000 – increase of $11.44
$200,000 – increase of $22.82
$300,000 – increase of $34.32
$400,000 – increase of $45.76
$500,000 – increase of $67.20
How will the money be spent?
The money will be used for library operations, including the provision of physical and digital materials, programs and events, physical space, and computers that reflect the current and future needs of the Pawling community. The funds will also help us keep pace with the inflationary costs of salaries and healthcare. The Pawling Library has not asked the taxpayers to increase funding since 2009. For further details on how the library spends the money it receives, please visit the library’s website, https://www.pawlingfreelibrary.org/about/boardoftrustees/
Will the library tax automatically increase every year?
The Library Board does not have the authority to raise the library tax; only district voters can do so. Once approved by the voters, the total tax revenues supplied to the library will remain constant each year. In the future, should the library’s Board of Trustees decide to pursue any increase in tax revenues, they will be required to place a new budget proposition before the voters for approval.
Why doesn’t the library seek more grant money and donations instead of raising my taxes?
Regardless of whether this budget proposition passes, the Pawling Library will continue its current practice of pursuing grants and donations. We are grateful for the grants and donations we receive and the opportunities they afford us. However, the grants and donations we receive are not sufficient to cover the library’s current operating deficit. Moreover, grants and donations are not predictable revenues on which to base an operating budget. They are better forms of supplemental income. Grants in particular are given to meet a specific need and are not usually available for the unrestricted funding of library services. While the Pawling library makes continued efforts at fundraising through avenues such as the annual appeal, book sales, etc., these monies do not represent a predictable, long-term source of sustainable funding.
Why doesn’t the library charge for its services to cover its cost?
Free public libraries are a benefit to American democracy. A library may not charge patrons directly, but relies on local tax support, individual contributions, and grants to cover general operating expenses.
The library’s building, staff and resources all cost money, but as a public library we may not discriminate or show bias toward anyone who wishes to use library services, including those who would be unable to pay for library use. Free, open access to information and services reflects not only our core values but also the New York State Education law which governs libraries.
The Library seems ok the way it is. Why don’t you continue as you have been?
It has been nine years since the Pawling Library asked the taxpayers to approve an increase to the amount of money it receives from the town. While we appreciate what we currently receive from the taxpayers, library services and the cost of providing them have both increased over time. The current appropriation is not enough to provide the level of services that our community has come to expect. The increase of funds will also help us keep pace with the inflationary costs of salaries and healthcare.
I don’t even use the library. Why should I pay for it?
A public library improves the value of a community as a whole and enhances property values. Libraries provide everyone the opportunity for life-long learning. For example, libraries help children grow into productive citizens by encouraging reading and learning; supplement the education curriculum of the school district; help people of all ages improve their job skills; support literacy, which enables many people to enter the workforce; preserve historical information about the community; offer resources that assist local businesses and community organizations. Libraries, like school systems and hospitals, are essential community resources and as citizens, we must support our library the same way we support other local service providers. Businesses and homeowners look closely at these resources when they make decisions about where to locate thus, a strong community library helps attract people to our community and enhances the quality of life for all our residents.
With the pervasive presence of the Internet, why do we need libraries at all?
The Pawling Library offers access to internet and books and so much more! It is a transformative place where community members of all ages and all backgrounds have come more than 65,000 times in 2017, to learn, share and grow. The Library provides educational enhancements that bring families together, sustain learning and break down barriers. It expands horizons and puts a universe of resources within reach.
As the internet takes an increasingly central role in everyday life, many people rely on the library to assist them in accessing and navigating online resources. This ranges from people who use the library because they do not have working internet connections or printers at home, to people who are very tech-savvy and use their home computers or smart phones to access resources provided by the library like Consumer Reports Online, Overdrive, RB Digital, Business Insights, and more. Additionally, the library offers classes and individual assistance for people of all ages who want to improve their technology skills.
Why can’t volunteers run the library?
The Pawling library has a strong group of core volunteers of varying ages who help us tremendously. Nonetheless, State Library Laws and Regulations require the Pawling Library to have a paid Director with a Master of Library Science degree. Additionally, we are fortunate to have a wonderful staff who provide the type of dependable, consistent, and professional service which could not be maintained by a strictly volunteer workforce across our entire schedule of operation. As part of their responsibilities, the staff do recruit, train, schedule, and supervise our volunteers to shelve materials, assist with programs, and take on additional projects to enhance library services and operations.
How is the library currently funded?
The library is funded by your tax dollars as well as individual donations given through our annual appeal, small grants that fund specific programs, fundraising efforts such as our annual and holiday book sale, and proceeds from minor program utilization costs (fines, printing and copying services, etc.). The responsibility of fundraising falls directly on our board of trustees and our Library Director and Trustees who must scramble every year to meet the gap between our tax revenue and our full operational costs by finding additional funding through grant applications, numerous fundraisers, and personal appeals for support.
How do other towns fund their libraries?
All libraries in the Mid-Hudson Library System are supported by public funds. The majority of community libraries in the Mid-Hudson Library System, including 16 of the 19 towns in Dutchess County, are specifically supported by earmarked taxes approved by voters under Chapter 414 – exactly what we are doing this year in Pawling.
What will happen if this 414 vote fails?
If the taxpayers do not support this 414 vote, the library will have to adjust service offerings, including reducing the range of programs and events it offers, scaling back its hours of operation, and limiting purchasing of new materials and equipment. Reductions to reflect the level of funding supported by the taxpayers would take place annually based on the diminishing purchasing power of the same fixed tax revenue.
When and where will the vote take place?
All residents of the Town of Pawling that are registered to vote in the Town of Pawling can cast their ballot on November 6, 2018. Voting will take place at your usual polling place: The Lathrop Center in Lakeside Park, Pawling Town Hall, and the Holmes Whaley Lake Civic Association. The polls open at 6:00 AM and close at 9:00 PM. Please be sure to look for the Pawling Library’s proposition on the ballot, it will be a “yes” or “no” question.