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Financially stressed, Richards Library seeks public support

Ellsworth family members (left to right): Kara, 10. Trevor, 9, and mother Peggy Ellsworth check out books from Warrrensburg's Richards Library, with the help of librarian Barbara Whitford.

Ellsworth family members (left to right): Kara, 10. Trevor, 9, and mother Peggy Ellsworth check out books from Warrrensburg's Richards Library, with the help of librarian Barbara Whitford. Photo by Thom Randall.

— This annual levy would stay in place permanently — and the amount would stay the same — until the library decided it needed more and thus would have to go back for another public vote.

The Warrensburg Central School District, with about 6,000 residents, includes Warrensburg, Thurman, and small portions of bordering towns including Lake George, Bolton, Stony Creek and Chester.

Richards Library board vice president Paul Gilchrist said that the 19 cents was “infinitesimal” compared to the Warrensburg School District tax rate, yet the proposed levy would allow Richards Library to not only continue to provide its traditional services, but expand them, while allowing the board to use the endowment to finish the stalled addition project. he noted that the school budget is $18.8 million of which about $7.8 million is raised through local taxes, which dwarfs the $98,100 the library is asking for.

He noted that other town’s libraries enjoy far more generous public support.

Richards Library now receives $25,000 from the Warrensburg town government, and $2,000 from Thurman. He said these annual municipal stipends would likely cease if the new special levy were enacted.

This existing public support is indeed far below the level enjoyed by other area libraries, according to figures prepared by the Southern Adirondack Library System.

Richards Library’s public funding represents $4.48 per capita in Warrensburg and Thurman while Bolton Free Library receives $17.68 per resident, the Lake George-Caldwell Library receives $22.80 per capita, Brant Lake Free Library gets $14.74 per capita, and and Chestertown, $19.15 per resident. The Chestertown Library also gets its utility expenses and facility costs paid by the town taxpayers as well.

Sept. 26, library board members asked the Warrensburg school board to hold a vote on the special levy separate from the annual school budget vote, so area residents would not link the library levy to the school budget. Gilchrist said regional library officials recommended holding a vote at a separate time and place.

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