BY JOHN NUGENT
The Great Neck Library Board of Trustees unanimously approved a proposed $9,654,475 budget for 2021-22 at a meeting on Thursday.
The total represents a reduction of $83,350 from the prior year.
No changes were made to the budget figures that were discussed at the second workshop session on March 22.
The most significant items affecting the lower number are anticipated reductions in interest income, cancellation of some fee-based in-house programs and elimination of fines for overdue library materials on the revenue side of the ledger, and a reduction in salaries and benefits resulting from delays in hiring for open positions on the expense side.
The library business manager, Steven Kashkin, noted that “for the fourth year in a row the cost of library operations will not require a tax increase for Great Neck residents.”
The board scheduled a meeting on April 8 to discuss the upcoming construction projects at the Station and Parkville branches.
Kashkin highlighted the substantial reduction in expected interest income from bank savings accounts during the March 22 meeting. He said that with interest rates now at less than 1%, income from that source will be dramatically lower in the coming year.
“The bottom line here is that every bank’s levels of lending are so low that they have no money coming in, thus they have no money to pay out to their customers for any type of interest,” Kashkin said.
Projected interest income has been reduced by $18,000 from the 2020-21 budget.
On another topic, after a discussion of the need to improve library web services, the board members agreed to add a $10,000 expense for website enhancement.
Board Vice President Mimi Hu expressed concern at the March 22 meeting that the board was getting bogged down in the details of the budget numbers.
“We should look at the bigger picture to align our board with our long-range planning and with the mission of our library,” she said. She cited the library mission statement “to provide traditional and innovative services to our residents.”
A public vote on the new budget will be held on May 11.