Saratoga County

Saratoga Springs Library unveils no-growth spending plan for 2010-11

By the middle of the week, new carpeting, new shelving and some new furniture will be installed o


By the middle of the week, new carpeting, new shelving and some new furniture will be installed on the first floor of Saratoga Springs Public Library.

But the $150,000 in interior renovations will not increase the 2010-11 budget, which will stay the same as this year’s budget and last year’s budget: just over $5 million.

“It’s a zero growth budget,” said library director Issac Pulver. “For the third year in a row we will have the same amount of expenditures.”

The proposed 2010-11 library budget, which will be the subject of a public vote April 15 in the library’s Harry Dutcher community room, does not include a property tax increase.

The new carpeting was installed Friday and installations of the shelving and furniture work will be completed by Wednesday, Pulver said.

Things have been somewhat chaotic the past two weeks at the library as the renovation work was done, Pulver said.

Books were stacked on moving carts while new shelving was installed. The periodical area, usually in the southeast corner of the library’s first floor, was temporary moved to the library’s second floor.

The periodical section was used as a staging area for the renovations, he said.

What many library users still call the “new” library was opened 15 years ago in the summer of 1995. It replaced the much smaller library at the corner of Broadway and Spring Street, now the Saratoga County Arts Center.

Pulver said with the increasing traffic in the library, carpeting, furniture and shelving had become worn out.

The library board of trustees finished paying off the debt on the new library construction in 2008. This left the board with about $600,000 each year to make renovations and improvements.

“We continue to be very conscious of the current economy,” said library board president Kenneth Bollerud.

“The Saratoga Springs Public Library is busier than ever and the budget we propose will not only help us to continue to meet this growing demand, but will allow us to make improvements deferred from last year in order to keep the budget flat,” Bollerud said in a written statement.

Pulver said library customers set a record in 2009 with more than three-quarters of a million items borrowed, an increase of 9 percent from the year before.

In 2009, customers visited the library 40,000 more times than in 2008 and asked 25 percent more reference questions than in 2008, according to a library statement.

“In the first two months of 2010 alone, circulation has increased by an astonishing 15 percent over the same period of 2009,” Pulver said.

Last year the library converted a large office on the first floor into a special room for teenagers and moved the periodical section from the northwest to the brighter southeast corner of the library’s first floor.

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