McCandless City Council rejects increase in contribution to Northland Public Library
McCandless City Council has rejected an increase in funding for the Northland Public Library, as called for in the library’s 2022 budget proposal.
The library had proposed a 5.23% funding increase for its local municipalities, including McCandless, according to a presentation by library executive director Amy Steele.
“This is an unprecedented decision, as the library budget has never been rejected by any of our supporting municipalities before. The impact will be felt by our community as necessary cuts to services, resources and programs will have to take place, ”said Nicholas Yon, director of communications for the Northland Public Library.
The township had the option of accepting, rejecting or making a recommendation regarding the library budget.
McCandless board chair Kim Zachary said that while the board has not agreed to the level of contribution requested by the library, the township will still provide the same funding it did this year.
“By rejecting the library’s proposed 2022 budget, the board rejected the 5.23% increase over last year. Our financial support will continue, just at the 2021 level. We recognize the library as a valuable part of our community, ”said Zachary.
Sixty percent of the library’s funding comes from its five local municipalities, including McCandless.
Also at the October 25 meeting, Canton Director Robert Grimm also presented the Canton’s 2022 draft budget, which contains no tax increase.
He will continue to present budget details at the next board meeting on November 8 with a final budget vote in December.
For the library budget, Steele had noted that the increase would meet various needs, such as operating increases and establishing competitive salaries for staff.
Yon said the library was sensitive to the tax challenges all of its funders were facing, but was disappointed with the McCandless council’s decision because library officials believed they had budgeted thoughtfully and responsibly.
Three of the library’s other municipal supporting partners formally approved the proposed library budget: Bradford Woods, Marshall and Ross. Franklin Park has given indications of support pending a vote next month, Yon said.
McCandless must be careful with his budget to meet major funding needs for 2022, according to Zachary.
“The City has major capital projects that can no longer be put off. The Council is committed to exercising fiscal responsibility and maintaining the current tax rate. We continue to tighten our own budget and ask the community services we support to do the same, ”she said.
The library has asked McCandless for $ 675,445 for 2022. However, the township budget committee has requested that the township maintain its 2021 funding level at $ 641,905 for next year.
Municipal library support is calculated using a circulation-based formula. McCandless contributes the highest amount to the library among other municipalities, according to the library’s proposed budget.
In his budget presentation, Grimm noted that “while the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying economic downturn are not as significant as we originally anticipated, we continue to see signs of slowing down economy, so we are careful with the revenue projections. “
Other projected expenses for the library include health care, building maintenance and updates, continuing education for staff, Steele said. Yon said Northland “worked hard” to make cuts to present a budget that would maintain its current level of service.
“We look forward to the opportunity to engage McCandless City Council in further discussions so that we can continue to serve our communities and neighbors at levels of service that meet their needs,” said Yon.
The library received federal aid last year, according to Steele. NPL received two Payroll Protection Plan loans. The PPP loan covered some personnel and utility costs last year and this year, according to Steele. She said both loans were canceled in 2021.
Other financings include Allegheny Regional Asset District, or RAD, at 18% of the funding. The library receives only 9% from the state, according to the NPL budget.
Northland has the highest circulation of physical items during the pandemic in all of Allegheny County. From January to December 2020, it circulated over 410,000 articles compared to the second highest number of circulations from Mount Lebanon libraries at 182,288. From January to May of this year, the NPL circulation more than doubled the second. highest number of items in circulation, which was located at the main Carnegie of Pittsburgh branch.
The canton’s 2022 budget project is available online www.townofmccandless.org.
Natalie Beneviat is an associate of Trib Total Media.