POTSDAM The Potsdam Public Library is looking to voters to approve its first tax increase in eight years.
For the past eight years, the library has been funded through a special taxing district and has raised $465,000 in property taxes each year. The referendum will increase it to $505,000. Residents who previously paid about 89 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value will pay 97 cents if the measure passes, a 9 percent increase.
The library will hold a hearing at 7 p.m. June 4 in the Potsdam Civic Center Community Room, 2 Park St., where it will discuss the librarys staff, budget and funding plans.
Its not a huge increase, Director Patricia W. Musante said. Many libraries have a 2 percent increase every year. Were thinking of doing that in the future, but we havent made a decision yet.
Ms. Musante said that the library received grant money over the past few years that helped purchase 11 desktop computers and 20 laptops and establish a public computing center.
The grant money cant be used in the operating budget, but it did impact our operating budget and those funds are drying up, she said.
Ms. Musante said that while the library is still operating at a deficit it is making spending cuts. She said the library already is cutting family benefits for full-time employees. If the tax increase does not go through, the library may have to cut its hours on nights and weekends, services such as computer literacy classes and the materials it buys.
Were already pretty bare-boned, but if this doesnt pass we may have to move to an austerity budget, Ms. Musante said.
To help with the funding, the library also is starting its first capital campaign, where it will reach out to patrons asking for donations each year.
Ms. Musante said the Potsdam Public Library is one of the top circulating libraries in the north country with 143,143 materials being circulated per year and is charted to serve 14,736 patrons per year.
It makes the community so much more, she said. People need a place in the community to go for the services we provide.
The referendum will take place from noon to 8 p.m. June 14 in the basement of the Civic Center.