Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library budget passes

KASSIE PARISI/GAZETTE REPORTERKASSIE PARISI/GAZETTE REPORTER

By Kassie Parisi

Gazette Reporter

CLIFTON PARK — The Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library’s $4.4 million budget was approved by voters Thursday night.

The budget passed by a vote of 634 to 103. The total 2018 budget is $4,416,934. Out of that, $4,292,051 will be raised via property taxes. The remainder of the budget will be raised through fines, fees, grants and public funds. Voting was held from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the library at 475 Moe Rd.

Clifton Park Councilwoman Lynda Walowit voted in favor of passing the budget on Thursday. Before she headed inside to return the stack of books she was carrying, Walowit, who described herself as an avid reader, said that she is a frequent user of the public library and that they’re crucial for communities.

“It’s such an integral part of our community in so many ways,” she said.

The estimated 2018 library tax rate for both Clifton Park and Halfmoon will amount to about a $2.28 increase on the total tax bill for properties with a market value of $250,000.

Salaries and benefits constitute the largest category of costs for the library, coming in at $2.4 million, or 56 percent of the budget.

Also on the ballot for Halfmoon residents were three seats for library trustees. Incumbents Megan Brown and Maria McMunn were re-elected. Since there were only two candidates running for three open seats, the library board will appoint someone to fill the third seat for one year. The five-year term for the two elected trustees, as well as the one-year term for the appointed representative, begins Jan. 1.

Since the only trustee openings were for Halfmoon representatives, only Halfmoon residents were able to vote on the trustees.

The library Board of Trustees is made up of 11 elected representatives: seven from Clifton Park and four from Halfmoon.

According to the library, there are 40,000 active, card-carrying members. An estimated 800,000 items were borrowed from the library in 2016, including books, DVDs,  ebooks, audiobooks and digital magazines.

More than 400,000 people walked through the doors in 2016, an average of 1,200 people per day, according to data released by the library.

Cathy Snopkowski, who was leaving the library Thursday morning after she voted to pass the budget, said she reads multiple books each week and that the library is her go-to source for not only physical books, but e-books as well.

Snopkowski said the library is fundamental to educating children in town as well.

“It’s a very important resource for the community,” she said.