Wheatfield will pay less for public library services for its residents over the next five years.
The Town Board has approved a five-year contract with the North Tonawanda Public Library, in which the cost will steadily decline from the current $150,000 a year.
The library’s opening position was to seek an increase to $175,000 next year and $25,000 more per year thereafter, according to Councilman Larry L. Helwig.
Paul E. Sikora, chairman of the library’s board of trustees, acknowledged the deal will leave a hole in the library’s expected budget.
It was passed by voters in April with the assumption Wheatfield would be paying $175,000 in 2017.
“We’re just going to have to deal with it,” Sikora said. “It’s far too early to say how. We have a couple of years. They’ll be paying the same amount (as now) in 2017.”
That number will fall each year thereafter, to $145,000 in 2018, $130,000 in 2019, $115,000 in 2020 and $110,000 in 2021, the final year of the contract.
“That was what they were willing to pay. We let them pay what they were willing to pay,” Sikora said.
“The taxpayers should be quite pleased,” Helwig said.
During the process, the town toyed with the idea of building its own library. That notion is off the table “for the foreseeable future,” Cliffe said.
Helwig said State Sen. Robert G. Ortt, a former North Tonawanda mayor, “came in as a mediator. We were stalemated there for a month or two.”