Woodstock Library trustees unanimously approved a budget July 19 for September voter consideration that includes funding for Monday hours and a 2 percent raise for salaried staff, while keeping the tax levy increase at 1.5 percent.
“This is the first time we’ve had a tangible, extra service,” board President Dorothea Marcus said of the new hours, something patrons have requested in numerous surveys.
“I think our community both needs and deserves it,” Director Jessica Kerr said.
The new hours would start in January and will likely be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. By the end of next year, Kerr hopes to review the entire schedule to see if there’s a need for change based on use. “I want to make sure our service doesn’t suffer and that we meet the demand,” Kerr said.
The $641,744 spending plan represents an increase of $22,826.50, or 3.69 percent over the current $618,917.50 while the tax levy is $585,544, an increase of $8676.50, or 1.5 percent.
Kerr said the difference will come from gifts and donations, mostly from the Friends of the Library and $2,000 in this year’s fund balance.
Hourly staff will also get some raises to keep up with the state’s gradually increasing minimum wage, which is set to hit $11.10 in December and $11.80 by the end of 2019 for the area.
Library tax bill in perspective
The proposed budget will result in a library tax bill of $149.11 for the homeowner with an average assessed value of $350,000, according to information from town Assessor Mark Plate. For an assessed value of $150,000 it would be $63.91. On the other end of the scale, a $750,000 home would result in a $319.53 tax.
If the budget does not pass, the library must run under its 2018 operating budget with no extra funding for Monday hours, staff raises, materials or building maintenance.
The budget and trustee vote will still be held despite a potential referendum to dissolve the library district. A group opposing the trustees’ handling of the library and proposed expansion has waged a petition drive to trigger the referendum. Those petitions are due in August.
Two trustees, Elaine Hammond and Tamara Katzowitz, are up for re-election. Anyone else wishing to run for the two seats must turn in petitions to the library with signatures of 25 registered Woodstock voters no later than 5 p.m. August 6. Petitions are available at the library circulation desk or online at woodstock.org.
The budget and trustee vote is September 6 from noon to 9 p.m. at the library.