PHOENIX, NY-To sustain programming and staffing amid a challenging year due to inflation and cost-of-living rates, the Phoenix Public Library is seeking $ 75,917 in additional funding during an upcoming referendum vote.
“The Phoenix Public Library relies on our talented staff to meet the needs of our community, from children’s programming to computer help,” said Phoenix Public Library Director Natalie Curran. “The proposed increase will be used to help provide the competitive wages and benefits we need to recruit and retain personnel with 21st century skills.”
Since 2011, minimum wage has increased $ 5.95 per hour. Despite the jump in minimum wage, the library hasn’t requested a substantial increase in additional taxpayer funding until now. As costs continue to rise and with no other guaranteed revenue sources flowing in, the library is requesting the public’s support for its proposed tax levy increase.
If approved, the projected taxes on a $ 100,000 home would be $ 10.91 higher than in previous years.
“After 11 years of operating with our current funding, the library is no longer able to provide the level of service the community deserves,” Curran said. “The proposed increase will allow the library to not only implement the programs and services outlined in our board-approved strategic plan, but also to adapt to new trends and technologies as modern librarianship continues to evolve.”
The funding would also help ensure the 30-year-old aging building is properly maintained. It currently has a leaking roof and needs repairs, Curran said. However, the library isn’t eligible to receive NYS construction grant funds, which makes the additional funding through this levy increase vital to the building’s maintenance.
The library offers a variety of services to the community. Its summer reading program promotes literacy among students and teens, while its adult programs provide community members with knowledge and resources in numerous areas. In 2021, the library served thousands of community members; providing 6,096 library visits, 455 computer sessions, 3,052 wireless sessions, 2,297 grab-and-go craft kits, and circulating 13,208 physical items.
“We exist to provide an environment where lifelong habits of learning, self-improvement and expression are encouraged and where patrons can meet their educational, informational and recreational needs,” Curran said. “From library visits to technology integration, we are truly here for our community members, and we are always grateful for their support.”
The proposal will be on the ballot during school elections May 17, from noon to 9 pm in the Emerson J. Dillon Middle School foyer. For more information about the library or the referendum vote, please call (315) 695-4355.