>I received this email from my friend Don Watson, he has been very busy the past few days looking into the issue of whether or not the Township can confiscate surplus funds from the Middletown Library. He found a bill that was signed by Gov. Christie that states that libraries can maintain surpluses of 20% or more of their operating budgets depending on certain circumstances like pending capital projects or grants.
Nice work, thanks Don !
In case you have been following the issue about the Township trying to get money from the Library to subsidize the Township budget, I have been doing some research and corresponding with individuals over the past few days. There is a law that passed in the end of October that outlines exactly what the Township is entitled to from the Library funds. I have attached the version, as it appears in the books. In essence, the Library can keep its operating budget plus another 20%, excluding funds restricted for capital projects and grants to be maintained as surplus.
This is all the Library is required to do. They do not have to pay rent or pay for the bond the Township issued to rebuild the Library. If this was the case the Township should also be treating the Arts Center in the same light. What about every other department? Shouldn’t they be paying for the facilities they utilize? The Library is not like the Sewer Authority. The Library is part of the Township government and the Library budget is part of the Township budget. Look at the bill lists for every month. It is a State law that says a certain amount of taxes collected, based on the value of the rateables in town, that havwe to go to fund the Library.
You can read the bill signed by Gov. Christie >>> Here
>On top of demanding that the Middletown Library fork over it’s budget surplus to the Township so that it can balance it’s own budget and avoid laying of members of the Middletown Police force, the Township Committee is now planning on having the Library pay rental fees to occupy the it’s premisses throughout the Township.
That’s right, the Township want to charge the library market rate rental fees to occupy the building that house the system.
The Township is planning on charging the Library a total of $119K a year in rental fees for the Main library and its satellite branches in Port Monmouth and Lincroft.
The Township is also planning on the Library to paid off the debt that the Township incurred for the construction of the main Library on New Monmouth rd., which would be an additional $542K a year in principal and interest charges taken from the coffers of the Library.
Here is a PDF file
that show’s the charges that the Township Committee wishes to impose on the Middletown Library
I think it is safe to say that if these fees are imposed on the library, the library as we know it will no longer exist. The quality service and experiences that make Middletown’s library so special to the tens of thousands of residents that use it every year will be lost.
If the Township is successful in imposing property rental fees for the buildings that the library occupies than a new precedence will have been established for Township own buildings.
In that case than, rental fees should be charged against the Middletown Arts Center instead of leasing the property to the Arts Council for $1 a year, and to all groups or departments that use township property or buildings.
>Today’s quote of the day in Middletown is in response to the Township Committee stating that police layoffs can be averted if only the Middletown library hands over it’s surplus funds:
“I don’t really think there is a link between library funds and police positions, they just believe it is politically convenient for them to make one.” – Randall Gabrielan, President of the Middletown Library Board of Trustees
Source Asbury Park Press 2/15/11