(By request, I have increased the font size)
Here is some budgetary data:
The Broome County Public Library's budget accounts for 0.6% of the total County budget. Cutting the library's budget is not going to do very much to save money for the County. However, the library is an un-mandated institution as far as funding goes in New York State. Thus, it is an easy target.
When the new main library building opened in 2000, it was a 72,000 square foot building. The library was open to the public 60 hours a week. These things remain true. However, in 2000, there were 47 full time staff members to work those 60 hours and maintain the 72,000 square feet. Since 2008, those staffing numbers have plummeted.
2008: 34.88 Full Time Staff
2009: 32.49 Full Time Staff
2010: 31.78 Full Time Staff
2011: 22.96 Full Time Staff
2012: 22.29 Full Time Staff
Projected 2013: 22.29 Full Time Staff
At some point, the number of full time staff drops below a minimum necessary staffing number. At that point, the library is forced to make some painful and damaging cuts, either to book purchases or to open hours, or both. Either decision adversely affects the mission of the library.
The County Executive will respond to complaints about library staffing by saying, as they have in the past, that there are mandated costs of health insurance, retirement costs, and CSEA (Civil Service Employees of America) Union raises which cannot be avoided. Maintaining the library at it's current level of funding will require cuts somewhere else or raising taxes. Rescue Our Local Library (ROLL) feels that we have reached a point in terms of cutting library funding where the County Executive needs to either look for cuts elsewhere or raise taxes to fund the vital services of the library.
The 2013 budget will go from the Executive to the County Legislature at the end of August. The Legislature votes on the budget on September 20, after which convincing the Legislature to add funding back in for the library will become increasingly difficult. Within the next week, this site will feature addresses at which County residents can contact their legislator and sample letters that they can send to their legislator. More facts about the budget and the library will be posted as they become available.
For more information on ROLL, interested parties can contact Cathy Stuckart, the coordinator, at email@example.com.
For more information about this site, Mike Timonin is the webmaster, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org