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Updated: Retro Salary Increases, Friday Cutbacks On Library Ballot

Voters in Huntington library district will decide April 16 on budget.

On April 16, voters in the Huntington Public Library district will decide on an $8.6-million budget proposal that reflects increased costs in the state Employee Retirement System and state health insurance plan, and a hefty load of retroactive salary increases that come after three years of employee union negotiations.
 
Among its major provisions are cutbacks on library service hours at the Main Street library, offset by increased expenditures for download of electronic materials and program activities at the Main Street and Station branches.

The increase per household to the average homeowner in the district is between $19.20 ($4,000 assessment) and $38.40 ($8,000 assessment).

According to library director Michael Bogin, the library's budgeted contribution to the New York State retirement fund jumps from $853,000 this year to $1,470,000 in 2013.  “Through attrition and a hiring freeze, the library was actually able to reduce salary expenditures, but we had to do a lot of juggling to deal with the benefit increases and stay within the budget cap," he said.

The decision to cut back Friday evening hours, at a savings of approximately $40,000, came after determining that these hours were the slowest of the week at the Main Street branch. “That and 9-10 a.m. Saturday, when there’s virtually no one there,” said Bogin. “Meanwhile, there are people in the library on Sunday afternoons being kicked out the door.”

Usage patterns were based on circulation checkout figures, wifi log-ins, and physical headcounts of patron traffic, said Bogin.

If the budget is approved, the library would make the following changes at the Main Street branch:

cut back three hours on Fridays, to 9-6 p.m.;
shift Saturday hours, formerly 9-5, to 10-6 p.m.;
add a total of 32 hours on Sundays between October and the end of April, formerly 1-5, to 1-6 p.m.

Bogin said that anticipated savings incurred by cutting back on Friday hours was matched by an increase in expenditures for popular programs and services.

“We’ve increased expenditures for downloadable electronic materials, like magazines, ebooks, that’s $20,000 right there,” he said. “We’ve increased programming for children, seniors and others, a couple of thousand here and a couple of thousand there. Our overriding concern was responsible allocation of resources, including seeing if there were certain unpopular services, and more demand for services other than those.”

In addition to the budget decision, voters will also be asked to cast a ballot on the uncontested library board trustee election. Two-term incumbent trustee Ann Berger is running unopposed.

In addition to Berger, the current Huntington Library board of trustees consists of Charles Rosner, president (through June 16); Paul Ehrlich, vice president (through June 17); Ann Scolnick, financial officer (through June 2014); and Harriet Spitzer, secretary (through June 15).

The library’s annual vote is set for April 16 from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. at the main branch (338 Main Street, Huntington). Applications for absentee ballot may be obtained from the school district clerk at 50 Tower St., Huntington Station.

The detailed budget proposal is available on the library’s website at www.thehuntingtonlibrary.org.

On April 16, voters in the Huntington Public Library district will decide on an $8.6-million budget proposal that reflects increased costs in the state Employee Retirement System and state health insurance plan, and a hefty load of retroactive salary increases that come after three years of employee union negotiations.
 
Among its major provisions are cutbacks on library service hours at the Main Street library, offset by increased expenditures for download of electronic materials and program activities at the Main Street and Station branches.

The increase per household to the average homeowner in the district is between $19.20 ($4,000 assessment) and $38.40 ($8,000 assessment).

"We're a union library, we have a contract and we were in negotiations for the better part of three years," said Michael Bogin, director of the library system. "When we finally came to a resolution, the union won retroactive 2 ½% salary increases. This current year we had to pay $800K. Next year, it's #1.4 million. We had to do a lot of juggling to deal with the benefit increases and stay within the budget cap."

The decision to cut back Friday evening hours, at a savings of approximately $40,000, came after determining that these hours were the slowest of the week at the Main Street branch. “That and 9-10 a.m. Saturday, when there’s virtually no one there,” said Bogin. “Meanwhile, there are people in the library on Sunday afternoons being kicked out the door.”

Usage patterns were based on circulation checkout figures, wifi log-ins, and physical headcounts of patron traffic, said Bogin.

If the budget is approved, the library would make the following changes at the Main Street branch:

  • cut back three hours on Fridays, to 9-6 p.m.;
  • shift Saturday hours, formerly 9-5, to 10-6 p.m.;
  • add a total of 32 hours on Sundays between October and the end of April, formerly 1-5, to 1-6 p.m.


Bogin said that anticipated savings incurred by cutting back on Friday hours was matched by an increase in expenditures for popular programs and services.

“We’ve increased expenditures for downloadable electronic materials, like magazines, ebooks, that’s $20,000 right there,” he said. “We’ve increased programming for children, seniors and others, a couple of thousand here and a couple of thousand there. Our overriding concern was responsible allocation of resources, including seeing if there were certain unpopular services, and more demand for services other than those.”

In addition to the budget decision, voters will also be asked to cast a ballot on the uncontested library board trustee election. Two-term incumbent trustee Ann Berger is running unopposed.

In addition to Berger, the current Huntington Library board of trustees consists of Charles Rosner, president (through June 16); Paul Ehrlich, vice president (through June 17); Ann Scolnick, financial officer (through June 2014); and Harriet Spitzer, secretary (through June 15).

The library’s annual vote is set for April 16 from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. at the main branch (338 Main Street, Huntington). Applications for absentee ballot may be obtained from the school district clerk at 50 Tower St., Huntington Station.

The detailed budget proposal is available on the library’s website at www.thehuntingtonlibrary.org.

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