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Aug 9, 2019 4:36 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Taxpayers Approve Hampton Bays Library Budget For 2020

The Hampton Bays Library budget for 2020 will slash programming by $9,000. PRESS FILE
Aug 14, 2019 11:01 AM

Hampton Bays taxpayers approved the 2020 Hampton Bays Public Library’s $2.4 million operating budget, 173-59, on Tuesday, according to Library Director Susan LaVista.

The spending plan decreases overall spending by $2,456 and stays within the state-mandated tax cap, but what the library’s patrons will save in their pockets, they may lose in programming. Budget figures show that the materials and programming line was slashed by $9,000.

In an email last week, Ms. LaVista declined to estimate approximately how many programs would need to be cut due to those budgetary restrictions.

“The number would be completely arbitrary, because I feel confident that additional support … and proceeds from planned fundraising, along with careful planning and spending, will bring us close to or equal to last year’s budget,” she said.

Ms. LaVista said that she is scheduled to meet with the adults’, teens’ and children’s department heads to discuss the future of the library’s programs and “hopefully we will come up with other revenue streams,” she said.

The director added that she needed to cut the programming budget in order to continue to fund the building’s maintenance. Pointing to the library’s two failed bond votes — the first in 2016 for $15.8 million, and the second in 2017 for $9.9 million — she said that the board was forced to dip into its reserves last year to replace the building’s HVAC system and repair the roof and plumbing.

“We have to keep the roof over our heads,” Ms. LaVista said. “All of that leaves me very little room that I have to play with.”

In addition to a $22,250 increase in building and grounds operations, the library budget also anticipates a $73,344 increase in library staff and benefits costs. Ms. LaVista attributed the increase to the new $15 minimum wage requirement and an anticipated 10-percent increase in state health insurance premiums.

In an attempt to make up for those increases, Ms. LaVista said that the library is hoping to receive donations through its first letter of appeal to go out in the September newsletter.

Additionally, she said that the library’s Board of Directors plans to apply for state construction grants, as well as the Southampton Town Cultural Arts Grant, as it has in the past, to supplement the programming budget.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make everything work, to make ends meet and keep moving forward,” she said. “I have an incredible staff — they are very creative. We’ll make it work.”

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Always begging for more dollars. If people vote down the library budget, they bring it for a vote again. The whole place should be shut down.
By Babyboo (289), Hampton Bays on Aug 10, 19 6:33 PM
2 members liked this comment
Does the library utilize a grant writer?
By bb (905), Hampton Bays on Aug 11, 19 12:29 PM
Guess I’ll have to cut back to 10 Zumba classes a week
By CaptainSig (712), Dutch Harbor on Aug 12, 19 12:51 PM
Gee. Where are all your tax dollars going, Hampton Bays? Stand up for yourselves, for Christ’s sake.
By Lets go mets (374), Southampton on Aug 13, 19 10:59 PM
You will see the taxpayers stand up for themselves if they try to put through another referendum for a new library. They could put through a referendum for a million dollars or so to upgrade and fix the renovations, but they continue to whine about not getting a new building. The Trustees have a oath of "due care" to maintain that building and if they fail to do so, they can be personally liable for any damages since there Directors and Officers insurance will probably not cover careless decisions. ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (512), Hampton Bays on Aug 14, 19 10:58 AM
The Hampton Classic, Horse Show, Bridgehampton