Saratoga County

Saratoga Springs library budget keeps spending level

The Saratoga Springs Public Library’s proposed 2011-12 budget includes $300,000 for improvements to

The Saratoga Springs Public Library’s proposed 2011-12 budget includes $300,000 for improvements to the library’s second floor but does not project an overall spending increase.

“This is the third year in a row with no spending increase,” said library Director Issac Pulver.

The library at 49 Henry St. saw record use in 2010, with 825,000 circulation items borrowed, representing a 10 percent increase over 2009. The library also posted a 9 percent increase in borrowing between 2008 and 2009, Pulver said.

The total proposed 2011-12 budget is $5.1 million with a tax levy of $4.8 million. The tax levy is the same as in the 2010-11 budget, so no property tax increase is expected.

The taxation district for the library is the same as that of the Saratoga Springs City School District. It includes the city of Saratoga Springs, large parts of Wilton and Greenfield and smaller parts of three other towns.

This year’s budget paid for renovations and improvements to the library’s first floor, including a new self-checkout system that is expected to be operational later this year.

Pulver said the 2011-12 budget includes $300,000 for improvements to the library’s second floor, such as the expansion of the library’s popular computer center on that floor. The library wants to add an additional 10 computers and work stations to the computer center for a total of 40 computers for public use during the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Pulver said the library has been able to keep its spending flat, despite increases in use and ongoing renovation projects, because about two years ago it paid off the debt it was carrying on the library that was built 15 years ago.

The approximately $500,000 per year the library had spent on debt service is now being used for the improvements and other expense increases, he said.

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

“The Saratoga Springs Public Library is busier than ever, and the budget we propose will not only help us continue to meet this growing demand but will also allow us to make improvements to enhance our services,” Bollerud said in a prepared statement.

Over the past year or so, the library opened a successful new teen room on the library’s first floor and replaced carpeting and old furniture on that floor.

The library board will soon award contracts for the reconfiguration of the library’s book return and checkout area on the first floor. This will include a new computerized, self-checkout system that will allow library patrons to check out their own books and other items.

Pulver said the Friends of Saratoga Springs Public Library has raised money to purchase three of the four self-checkout stations.

The public will vote on the proposed budget between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. April 14 in the H. Dutcher Community Room in the library. A public hearing on the new budget will be held at 7 p.m. April 11 in the community room. Any resident of the enlarged city school district who is a registered voter can vote in the library election. A voter registration opportunity will be held from noon until 4 p.m. April 2 in the library for those who have not yet registered.

Library board president Bollerud is running for the single trustee seat up for election this year. He is unopposed.

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