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Sleepy Hollow Trustees Zero In On Warner Library Funding

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – Representatives from Warner Library spoke to the Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees at its Tuesday meeting in an effort to help the board understand what the library offers to village residents.

The presentation comes after rumors circulated that the board of trustees wanted to cut off funding to the library completely and after Mayor Ken Wray told the Warner Library Board of Trustees not to expect to get the same budget when the issue is up for debate again in 2014.

Trustees have stated they don't wish to cut off funding, but rather look at curbing costs because of increasingly difficult budget constraints.

“We're not anti-library, anti-books, anti-children,” Trustee Evelyn Stupel said. “We really have to think of what's happening with our taxes and the money that's available.”

Rubenstein and other library officials explained to trustees that the library circulates 4,000 items every week and puts on hundreds of programs throughout the year.

“We are a vital community center,” said Carin Rubenstein, chair of the library's board of trustees. “We do a lot more than lend people books.”

The library’s programs are funded through the Friends of the Warner Library, not taxpayer dollars. Most of the library’s budget goes to personnel costs.

The Warner Library is funded by both Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow through an inter-municipal agreement (IMA). Each village contributes money based on population. The library's budget is determined by a budget committee made up of representatives from each village.

If both villages cannot agree on a budget for the library, the agreement stipulates that the library will receive the same budget it had previously, plus a cost of living increase, according to David Schroedel, trustee and finance committee chair.

That agreement is the source of friction, Schroedel said.

“We have a flawed IMA,” Schroedel said. “This IMA exempts you from any scrutiny that every other budget line item goes through in the village. Nobody in Sleepy Hollow gets that. In fact, every department in Sleepy Hollow was told, 'You have to cut your budget by five percent' this year."

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