As the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library continues to try and keep up with changing technology and introduce new services, its biggest expense is salaries and wages for the employees as the cost of benefits is increasing, according to Director Susan de Sciora.
â€śOur biggest challenge is trying to stay under the two percent tax cap and the major reason for that challenge is because of increased costs; not of employeesâ€™ salaries but of benefits,â€ť de Sciora said. â€śThere is some leveling off in the cost of retirement but we donâ€™t know when.â€ť
As of press time, de Sciora said she is anticipating two or three early retirements, and added that the library is equipped to handle those. â€śAs people work, we put in funds into a reserve of what we believe theyâ€™ll be getting paid when they retire so it doesnâ€™t result in a tax increase,â€ť she said. â€śHowever, if someone decides to retire in the middle of the year, we canâ€™t budget for that.â€ť
The Hewlett-Woodmere Libraryâ€™s 2013-â€™14 proposed budget is $6,239,089; an increase of $276,465 over the current budget of $5,962,624.
The tax levy cap, the amount of money to be raised by taxes, is going to be 1.99 percent, or $5,881,269, de Sciora said.
Library trustee and Woodmere resident Frank Zaret said the tax cap has strapped all Nassau County libraries, not just Hewlett-Woodmere. â€śWe have to take the necessary steps to meet the state requirements,â€ť he said. â€śWeâ€™re a very good library with people who are very interested in the library, whether it be fixing it up or doing things for it, and thatâ€™s helpful when developing a budget.â€ť
Zaret added that since he became a trustee four years ago the library is continually changing. â€śWeâ€™re always trying to implement the latest technology and are always looking to expand,â€ť he said. â€śParking is our greatest problem and we donâ€™t see it resolving anytime soon.â€ť
The library began offering eBooks, downloadable books to Amazon Kindles, last year and according to de Sciora, that program has been a huge success. â€śThe number of library patrons currently is the same as last year [nearly 16,000] and there are more and more people using the downloadable eBooks,â€ť she said. â€śThat program is still in its beginning stages but we still have patrons who would still rather take out a book.â€ť