>Library Director Issues Update On Library Reserves Issue

>Middletown Library Director Susan O’Neal, earlier today posted the following update on the issue of Library Reserve funds on the main page of the Middletown Township Library’s website:

The Library “giveback” issue is now so full of rumors that it is difficult to know where to begin. One of the troubling issues is that some are casting the library as uncooperative. Not true.

So, I’ll start with last year, when members of the Township Committee, Pam Brightbill and Sean Byrnes came to library board meetings and asked the Trustees to consider giving some of its reserves to the town. The Trustees listened, and made a quick response to sponsor one of the summer concerts of the Parks & Recreation Department. We followed up with a letter to the Mayor [dated June 10,2010] indicating the Board’s willingness to provide some assistance, and asked four questions which were germane to the Board’s deliberations. There was no response to the letter [which we will post on this website] These questions were not answered by August, when Mayor Scharfenberger attended the library board meeting, and he was asked again for a response. None followed, and the library pressed on in memos and finally, in November, a meeting was held with Library Trustees, Mr. Mercantante and Mr. Trascente. But questions of the Board were not completely answered. In fact, the inability of the library to get any reconciliation of the small budget surplus of 2008 and 2009 kept our 2010 budget in flux for the entire year. And, without the information it asked for, the Trustees could not make an informed decision about making a contribution to help the Township.

So now we get to late 2010, and the law on libraries returning some surpluses changes from libraries “may” return surpluses to “must” return surpluses that are not restricted for capital projects, or are from per capita state aid funds. Immediately, the request turned into a demand, and for much much more than the law would allow. By the library’s calculations of the official “Proposed Transfer Form” of monies, the Middletown Library has $262,453 in funds which must be returned.

The Trustees of the Library are negotiating in good faith with the Township on this matter and will do what they are able to do legally.

Susan O’Neal, Director

p.s. By the way, the NJ State Library has informed us that ALL of the dozen or so libraries that have given back funds to their municipalities have followed the procedures outlined in the law. The MTPL will do the same.





26 Comments

Filed under budget deficit, Library Reserves, Middletown Library, Middletown Township Committee, NJ State Library, surplus funds, Susan O'Neal

26 responses to “>Library Director Issues Update On Library Reserves Issue

  1. >Good for you Susan O Neil;Tell the lying #*@#*#* to go to hell !That's what they truly deserve and not one of them are to be trusted.

  2. >One problem here for Oneal. You can't put money towards capital projects when you don't own any of the facilities! Therefore, the library's capital plan is not viable and the money encumbered is invalid.

  3. >That's a legal issue that I think can be debated. Capital improvements are not necessarily just for building improvements, they would included anything that adds to or enhances the Library experience like new computers, furnishings, carpeting, paint….

  4. >The people of this town own these facilities NOT THE TC COMMITTEE.Bought and paid for with taxpayer dollars !! Those same taxpayer dollars can be spent on library capital projects as they enhance the facilities the TAXPAYERS OWN !!!There are laws protcting library finance. But who ever said the TC has any respect for the law ??

  5. >Not providing information is standard operating procedure for the republican majority running the Middletown Township Committee. I suspect that when the national economy went into crisis mode the impact washed over Middletown and erroded the facade of financial competence that the committee attempts to project.A lot of money has been spent on bonding. I wonder what individuals and groups have benefited the most from this spend-and-borrow and borrow-and-spend addiction acquired by the Middletown Republican Party — elected and appointed officials and insider party loyal volunteers and favored contractors. Are there reasons why the Township committee doesn't want to be subject to providing financial information to an independent group of residents with financial expertise in the form of a Finance Committee, other than the pat answer that 'the people elected us to be their finance committee'?The Library Board of Trustees now gets to experience first hand what the residents of Middletown have been subjected to by the Township Committee: lack of transparentcy, misinformation instead of factually correct information, deflection, blaming others and forces beyond their control for sub-sub-stellar results, and habitually stonewalling requests for information.I'm very curious about the questions that the Board asked and never received answers to. What information was the board looking for that if it were made public might put the committee in unfavorable light?

  6. >I wonder whos pocket this money will line. Certainly not any of the poor laid off employees. Man…these people are like the mafia. Extortion and threats are standard fare. I feel for you Mike.

  7. >Last Anon poster, you are correct in that the people of the town own the library facilities. That it why it is not unreasonable to ask for the Library pay for some of the services for which it is a direct beneficiary. (1) Where does the money / resources come from for the maintenance their buildings? The TC (out of the public works budget).(2) Where does the money / resources come from for the maintenance of their facilities, the plowing of their lots, the mowing of their lawns, the landscaping of their propertied, etc.? The TC (out of the parks & rec budget).(3) Where did the money come from for the library improvements and who is paying for that debt service? The TC(4) When tax appeals are given, who pays back all portions of those taxes (including the amount allocated to the library, schools, etc.)? The TC So why shouldn’t some $ for these “free” services come out of the library budget?? The answer is that “it should” … especially since the taxpayers have to increase the amount they “fund” the library by a huge % each year. They should be looking to protect the taxpayers as WE are the ones that fund the library … and a huge tax increase for the library each year is not in the cards in this economy.(3) Who paid for the library improvements and is paying for that debt service? The TC(4) Who has to pay the library’s % of tax appealed $ back? The TC So why shouldn’t some $ for these services come out of the library budget?? The answer is that “it should” … especially since the taxpayers have to increase the amount they “fund” the library by a huge % each year.aNON

  8. >Thanks Rick,Anytime you would like to move to town and help us out, it would be appreciated.

  9. >aNON 5:17,One correction that I would like to point out. The Library pays for it's own landscaping service. The township does not maintain the outside property. The rest I wont comment on.

  10. >It's sad to read Ms. O'Neal's comments as it indicates that the Library is planning on digging it's heels in as opposed to cooperating as they said they would.If they continue that recalcitrance, I'm afraid that the citizen's of the town will end up getting back the entire $1.2 million dollar surplus, the Library Board will cease to exist and Director O'Neal will be looking for a job.

  11. >THE TAXPAYING CITIZENSOF THIS TOWN PAYS FOR THE EXPENSES OF EVERY NEEDED EXPENSE OF THE TAXPAYERS OF MIDDLETOWN.. TOO BAD THESE TC GOONS DON"T HAVE A CLUE ABOUT MANAGING THAT MONEY AND THEY ARE TOO STUPID TO ACKNOWLEDGE JUST HOW INEPT THEY REALLY ARE !!We need a forensic audit of township funds,we need an investigation of the administration and the township committee ….and the sooner the better. Total incompetence reigns and the "hired help " is also suspect.Everyone in this administration seems to have risen to their level of incompetence. That observation has nothing to do with politics,it has everything to do with common sense. It's been some time since common sense prevailed in this town under this gang of buffoons.Lie,cheat,evade the truth,you name it ,they do it.

  12. >Anon 5:17 p.m.Be careful that you don't 'should' all over yourself. It can get messy, especially when the T.C. talks about what the L.B. should be doing with budget dollars that the state legislature, by statute, walled of from politically motivated municipal officials. Given the opportunity, politicians will pilage and plunder the taxpayer for the good of all — look at what politicians have done to the pension funds.

  13. >Anon 5:57 p.m.,Outsource it all. All of the public works employees and recreation employees doing work related to the library 'should' have been doing department specific work somewhere else. Bye-the-way our tax dollars weren't going to the library; the dollars were going to the people doing the work, not the institution. Give those dollars to someone in the private sector–save on pension and health care costs, save on overtime, save on sick time, save on goof-oof time. You 'should' think about it.

  14. >anon 5:44Your threat is exactly why the email spread around this town warning us what the TC was going to do. OR ELSE!I thought the TC did not want to go there, but you just proved they'll do and say anything to get what they want.Let's find out if indeed there's a so called surplus and go from there.I want to again remind people….the library has been fiscally responsible. They did not spend more than they made and saved for a rainy day. Unlike what the TC has done for the last 3 years.

  15. >Anony 6:46,Was not being critical of the Library Board. They have done their job.Have no respect for this TC,not one of them and that goon with "esquire" after his name would make a better shoe shine "boy".

  16. >Not a threat at all, it's just practical.Forget for a moment all of the rhetoric here about how the TC "should have seen this coming," if you are a member of the TC and you are facing the layoff of ten police officers and there is $1.2 million that you could use to save those positions, why don't you take it?Sure, it means that the town gives it's library over to the County, but so what? Consolidation will mean that more and more things will be done by intralocal agreement to save money anyway, so why not now?Senate Democratic Leader Sweeney is intent on having municipalities consolidate at the county level – that's a fact.So no. That isn't a threat. A lack cooperation by the Library could well lead to a situation where it will be easier for the TC to give up the Library than to keep it.It will save the taxpayers money, and keep the police force where it is.Not really a decision that's hard to make at all, is it?

  17. >To answer some of the posts which have misinformation – all one has to do is ask to get the information!The Library pays for building cleaning, utilities, lawn care, snow removal and most minor repairs within its operating budget, plus $75,000 annually to the Township toward other services provided by the Town, like payroll, mowing & snow removal at two branches [Navesink pays its own way on all of the above].On programs, many are provided by volunteers, or paid for by the Library Foundation. Staff time and the use of the facilities is, of course, part of the overhead expense.

  18. >These yokels we call committee persons hired 4 police officers recently,now they want to lay off 10….are you kidding us,dumb a$$es!!!Can't manage money any better than little kids… incompetent,brainless spoiled nonsensical politicians with no common sense AT ALL ! NONE !

  19. >anon 2/28 @5:17 and anon 3/1 @ 1:17….believe you are one and the sme person,either the current or former mayor.Try cleaning up the acts of all TC members and managing money with fiscal responsibility and discipline.The fiasco of wasting money on engineering for turf fields the residents did not want where proposed (how much was that,a couple hundred grand ?)the sewage authority that has outlived it's usefulness and a department head or two who are not productive any longer and frugal business practices would go a long way in realizing savings. Patronage should be DEAD in this town. We cannot afford this crap anymore.The library is more astute in financial management. The TC's financial conduct is disgraceful.The TC needs to cleanup it's own house before it tries to strong arm the Library Board. We don't want to hear their woes until try do. "PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH".

  20. >Anon 1:17 p.m.,Even if the library turns over all the surplus the T.C. wants 10 police officers and all the other staff reductions will take place.

  21. >Anon at 1:22Yes, that's true, based upon discussions with the Library last Fall the town did count some refund of surplus from the Library into the budget. The employee unions are being asked for concessions to potentially save layoffs.That's why it's important for the Library to do what they indicated they would do, and why if they don't they make it easier for the TC to get all of the surplus than to keep the Library.

  22. >Once again, ignorance abounds here…The library's budget pays for maintenance, lawn, and snow removal, etc.., not Parks and Rec…Also, if the Library is given to the County, you will not save ONE TAX DOLLAR…you will pay the same, or MORE for lousy, watered down service, and will have to COMPETE with Keansburg, Hazlet, Union Beach, Holmdel, etc..residents for the library's current resources…I mean, just because Fox News and "others" lie to you people, it doesn't mean that you have to swallow it whole…now does it..???

  23. >anony 6:43….your threats are those of a THUG. Has the MOB now gained control of the TC ??YOU appear a slick,slimy slug !!

  24. >The Library's entire surplus would revert to the Town – $1.2 million.The Library WOULD cost less, because all other county taxpayers would be sharing in the expense.The indirect costs of the Library, their health care costs, their administrative costs will be off the municipal budget – there would actually be significant savings, despite the comments posted here.But, of course, no one wants to lose the Library – except perhaps the Library Board who, with their every action, seem to be daring the TC to turn it over to the county.I guess we'll have to wait to see what happens.

  25. >HAD ENOUGH NOW ,RESIDENTS ??THIS MOB HAS TO GO ??REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER…..THEY CANNOT BE TRUSTED ABOUT ANYTHING !GET RID OF BRIGHTBILL & FIORE THIS YEAR AND MASSELL NEXT !!DESTROY OUR LIBRARY and DESTROY OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM and THEY DESTROY THIS TOWN !!!INCOMPETENTENCE …….

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