Franklin Lakes February 25, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 9 Library opposes reduction in municipal funding by Frank J. McMahon The Board of Trustees of the Franklin Lakes Free Public Library recently passed a resolution calling on Mayor Maura DeNicola and the borough council to adopt a resolution in protest of the recent action by the New Jersey League of Municipalities that asks the state legislature to enact legislation to reduce the minimum funding level for municipal libraries. The NJ League of Municipalities wants the state legislature to amend the state law that requires municipalities to provide a minimum level of funding for their public libraries and it favors a reduction in that required minimum funding from one third of a mill, or a third of a tenth of a cent, on every dollar of the equalized assessed value of property within a municipality, to one sixth of a mill, or a sixth of a tenth of a cent, essentially cutting the current library funding in half. The borough was required to include $1,549,626 for the library in its 2008 budget, an increase of $79,255 over the 2007 funding, according to the current state statute. That statute requires each municipality to fund its library’s ongoing operation based on each municipality’s equalized assessed value. A municipality’s equalized assessed value is the assessed value of all property in a municipality that was established in the last revaluation of that municipality equalized to a level that is theoretically near full market value at the time the number is set. The league’s position supports a bill that was recently introduced in the New Jersey Assembly that would, in fact, cut in half the amount of money municipalities must raise in taxes to fund the operation of their free public libraries. The bill, A-3753, was sponsored by Secaucus Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, (D-32 Bergen & Hudson) and it has been referred to the New Jersey Assembly’s Housing and Local Government Committee. “We believe that, as local governments confront unprecedented fiscal challenges, a reform to the statute is both appropriate and necessary,” stated William G. Dressel, Jr. the executive director of the League of Municipalities. “We note that such a change would not prevent a municipality from providing more funding than its library required, but merely lower the required payment for municipal libraries.” The league approved the resolution seeking to reduce the library funding by municipalities at its conference last November and it will be one of the items that will comprise the league’s legislative agenda for 2009. The library trustees, however, say the league’s resolution ignores the enormous public service that municipal libraries perform for the welfare of the taxpaying public, and the league’s action is, therefore, not in the best interests of the municipal governments. In its own resolution, the library trustees claim that the League of Municipalities has lost sight of the fact that the public libraries have flourished for over 120 years in New Jersey in large part because of assured adequate public funding, and that the league (continued on page 23) ����������������������� ��������������������������� ���������������������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������� ������������������������������������ ����������������������������������������� ������������������������� �������������������� ������������������������������������������������������� Friday, March 13, 2009 ����������������������� �������������������� ����������������������