Derry's Taylor Library won't close its doors
On Tuesday night, the Town Council reinstated the library's $176,612 budget for the 2014 fiscal year by a 5-2 vote.
In his recommended budget to the council, Town Administrator John Anderson zero funded the Taylor Library for the coming year. At recent council meetings, a number of library patrons and their children spoke against the cuts, and the five council members who voted to reinstate the budget all publicly stated they did not support cutting the library's budget.
At Tuesday night's council budget review workshop, Anderson explained his reasoning for not funding the Taylor Library.
"My feeling is that it is a very nice library, but if you're going to start looking at laying off police officers and firefighters or cutting public safety in the community, I would much rather cut a 1,000-square-foot library," Anderson said.
Anderson also pointed to several failed attempts by the Taylor and Derry library trustees to come up with an integrated library services plan dating back to 2005. He said it was his understanding the Derry Public Library trustees were willing to work together to come up with a plan, but that the Taylor trustees were resistant.
Anderson also said he believed the library would be better suited as a private, non-profit library. He recommended that if the council did fund the library that the funding come from the library's capital reserve fund and that the library trustees be given a six-month window to once again come up with an integrated library services plan with the Derry Public Library.
However, Taylor trustee Candace Andrews said there was no resistance to the integrated services plan, but that it was decided there would be no real advantage for either library.
Several councilors raised the possibility of having the library funded through its capital reserve budget or partially funding the library and having it raise money to cover the remaining costs.
Councilor Brad Benson spoke against both options, noting the town's fund balance could likely be used to cover other capital projects in the overall town budget, effectively covering the cost of the Taylor Library budget and eliminating its tax impact on the town.
He also said that if the town covered only a portion of the library's budget, it would have to do the same with the larger Derry Public Library budget.
"It needs to be a level playing field," he said. "It is a public library that does service the public. Why should they have to pay when the Derry Public Library does not?"
Councilor Mark Osborne said the flip side to that could be that the Taylor Library has far fewer users than the Derry Public Library.
"I don't think they are necessarily equal in all respects," he said.
Osborne and council Chairman Michael Fairbanks cast the two votes against restoring the Taylor Library budget.
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