The Long Beach Public Library’s proposed $3.36 million budget for 2012-13, scheduled to be voted on by the public on May 15, is a 1.84 percent increase from their current $3.15 million operating wallet.
Although the library has only seen a 1.8 percent budget increase over the last four years, Director George Trepp explained they were still able to restore materials cuts made in the previous operating budget and also maintain many of programs currently in place.
“Because of our shortfall in the summer, we had to make additional cuts,” Trepp said of the current operating budget. “This proposed budget hopes to rectify that budget and add the increases we expect for the upcoming year.”
While the board was able to stay away from position cuts, they were forced to leave several administrative and clerical positions vacant, eliminate all out of district conference expenses, and cut state and national memberships.
“If we were to make cuts then it would be those positions,” he explained. “The administrative director position remains to be vacant and we have to see what the board does on that.”
The board’s proposed 2.04 percent tax levy increase remained under the 2.64 percent cap, and has increased about 1.9 percent over the last four years, according to Trepp.
“We saw this 2 percent tax cap coming a mile away and we’ve been budgeting conservatively for a number of years now,” he said.
Because the library has been working under such tight financial restraint, they have been forced to reach out to private donations to maintain three fully operational branches.
“We have been pulling the belt tighter and tighter which I think is consistent with those recessionary years,” Trepp explained. “We’ve been fortunate with the fact that we have friends of the library who have come to our aid with donations and purchased some equipment.”
Trepp noted that the library saved roughly $25,000 by eliminating the printed and mailed newsletter system and switching over to an email-based system.
“Interestingly enough, because of the email list, we are actually going to be mailing more newsletters than ever before,” he claimed. “We’ll be delivering 40 percent more newsletters.”
Hard copies of the newsletter will still be available at any of the three Long Beach branches.
The library is also working with Suffolk County on the "In Reach" program, a computer program which allows people to take out books from both county’s libraries.
“If they don’t have the item in Nassau, they can click on the icon and see if a Suffolk County library has it,” he said. “They can place it on reserve and receive it from Suffolk County.”
Trepp was proud to announce that not only was the board able to maintain the library’s many music festivals, but also added Long Beach Rocks -- a day celebrating the many genres of rock and roll.
“Either the third or fourth week of October is the Long Beach Rocks Festival, so we are going to be looking into getting some rock bands,” he announced. “We will still be offering the Blues Festival, Jazz Festival, Folk-To-Funk Festival and our Cabaret Festival as well.”