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LIBRARY BOARD SETS MEETING ON 1998-99 BUDGET

The North Tonawanda Public Library will hold a public information meeting next Monday on its proposed $1,091,785 budget for 1998-99.

The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Conference Room at the library, 305 Meadow Drive. The public will vote on the budget from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. April 22 in the library.

In an open letter to North Tonawanda School District residents, Paul Sikora, president of the library's board of trustees, said $874,185 is needed from property taxes to support the library, an increase of $21,759 from this year.

"State law requires that the board of trustees seeks voter approval for any increases above the amount previously approved by the voters," Sikora said.

"Last year changes in New York State law mandated a major change in how the North Tonawanda Public Library is funded. This law, which required that the district school budget be voted on in small cities, also required that the budgets of the public libraries chartered in those school districts be voted on as separate items.

"The budgets of libraries thus affected are not to be considered part of the operation and maintenance of the school district. They are to be considered a separate budget and a separate tax for library purposes.

"It is important that North Tonawanda residents understand this is not a new tax. They are voting on the increase in library taxes required for the next fiscal year.

"This coming fiscal year the taxes will again be collected as a separate item on the school district tax bills, and this represents a legally separate tax designated by New York State laws as library taxes," Sikora said.

Library statistics for 1997 included:

Circulation of books and materials was 367,350, an increase of 2.2 percent.

More than 1,000 people used the library per day.

The Library Board continued to implement its long range plan to provide up-to-date services and to make a wide range of books, reference resources, and information available.

Maintained a program of services for children to encourage reading and the use of the library to enhance life-long learning.

Sunday hours were continued during the school year, the library offering full service seven days a week.

Offered opportunities for children to be introduced to the Internet and its vast resources.

Besides property taxes, the library receives the following income:

Niagara County grant, $79,000; funds from Wheatfield and Pendleton, $33,500; interest income, $8,500; overdue book and lost book charges, $30,000; commission income from copy machines and pay telephones, $5,770, state aid, $10,900; and surplus from 1997-98, $50,000.

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