Great Neck Library unveils second draft of proposed budget

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In a second draft of the 2015-2016 proposed Great Neck Library budget, library Business Manager Neil Zitofsky called for spending to be $495,500 less than in the budget’s first draft.

The second draft calls for $9,185,200 in spending, but $9,644,700 in revenue.

Zitofsky said the board will have to decide what they want to do with these funds, but Zitofsky suggested the board could use the extra money to retire the bond for Main Branch renovations early.

The Main Branch, located at 159 Bayview Ave., will be closed for a year during an extensive renovation of the building.

The improvements will be funded by a $10.4 million bond approved by voters in 2013.

Zitofsky said in the first draft of the budget he had $500,000 in a fund for Main Branch renovations.

He said the fund would have covered whatever the bond didn’t.

The second draft budget called for salaries for part time employees to increase by $33,500.  

Zitosky said the money was added to hire back some part-time employees after the library found itself short staffed. He said they were let go after the closing of the Main Branch for renovations.

The second draft calls for $515,500 to be spent on part-time librarians, clerks and pages.

The proposed budget also calls for a $219,100 increase in spending on library materials such as books, e-books and reference materials – from $649,400 in 2014-2015 to $868,500 in 2015-16.

“We want to start to ramp up again for the [Main Branch] reopen,” Interim Library Director Chris Johnson said at the board of trustees budget workshop Monday. “There will be stuff from storage but there will be things we are buying new copies of as well. We’ve said that when we reopen there will be new versions of certain things.”

The $24,000 the proposed budget calls to spend on postage in 2015-2016 caused library treasurer Josie Pizer to question why the library spend so much on simply postage.

Johnson said that most of the postage is for overdue book notices and newsletters being sent through the mail.

“We’re going to start reducing our mailing list soon for the newsletter,” Johnson said.

Library President Marietta DiCamillo said she wants Zitofsky and Johnson to find out what else the library might use postage for that is driving up the cost so much before the next budget hearing on April 14.

The board also plans to adopt the budget on this date.

DiCamillo also said she wanted to look at hiring a permanent IT professional for the library, as well as getting iPads.

“We need to look at getting iPads – we keep talking about it and I think we need to get a solid recommendation on what to do about it,” DiCamillo said.

The budget also calls for the library to spend $500 for the online service so patrons can pay their fines online. Zitofsky said the libraries don’t have charge card reader, and that if the library didn’t spend the $500, patrons would not only have to pay their library fine but also charge fee.

“If there is no charge I think it actually encourages people to pay the fine,” library Trustee Robert Schaufeld said.

Zitofsky also made projections for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, which included an increase in salaries for library administration.

In the 2015-2016 proposed budget, Zitofsky proposed to spend $591,000, but in 2017, he projected the library would spend $660,000 on administration.

The increase of nearly $69,000 will go toward paying a new library director and a new human resources employee the library hopes to hire in 2017, Zitofsky said.

The first draft of the 2015-2016 budget was initially presented earlier in March. The preliminary budget showed an increase of $909,000, or 10.4 percent, more than last year’s budget.

Zitofsky said the proposed budget would not require a tax increase as currently presented. The budget isn’t scheduled to be adopted until April 14, according to the library calendar.

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