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With funding restored, libraries to order books

Books and magazines will be ordered for the city's libraries, and the Local History Department at the Main Street library reopened today.

Library Director Betty Babanoury said those changes are direct results of the decision a State Supreme Court justice issued Monday, which ordered the city to fully fund its libraries for the rest of the year.

The library board of trustees sued the city this year to gain its full $2 million appropriation in the city's 2005 budget. The city had underfunded the libraries by half this year, and then voters rejected a June referendum to fund them through a new tax.

The board's attorney, Edward Perlman, said Tuesday he has written and submitted a judgment, something required since Justice Vincent E. Doyle issued only a decision.

The judgment is basically a summary of Doyle's 16-page decision, Perlman said. In it, he will ask the city to transfer the remainder of the $2.06 million that Doyle decided the city had allocated and owes the library and list the cost of attorney and court fees, which Doyle also ordered the city to pay.

Perlman estimated the balance of the allocation at about $568,000, and it doesn't include a $302,681 rent charge for the Earl W. Brydges Library building owed to the city.

Perlman said he asked Doyle to wait to sign the judgment until Monday, to give the city's corporation counsel time to voice any objections and meet with him to go over numbers.

City officials maintain the $2 million figure listed in the city's budget as an allocation was simply the funding requested by library leaders and that $1 million was the true allocation.

In his decision, Doyle said including a request for funding in an adopted budget under the title "allocation" did not make sense.

Mayor Vince Anello said Monday the city is using much of its fund balance to keep the libraries open for the rest of the year on a minimal $80,000 per month.

He said the $1 million that wasn't transferred to the library but is listed in the budget does not exist and that the grand total of appropriations listed in the 2005 budget -- $71,870,433 -- is therefore inaccurate.

Meanwhile, a meeting of Save the LaSalle Library will be at 6:30 p.m. today in LaSalle Library, 8728 Buffalo Ave. The agenda includes an update on the library's status and the on-going petition drive and discussion of possible heritage designation for the library building.

e-mail: gnorheim@buffnews.com

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