Flower library officials pitch funding idea to Watertown city council

Flower Library funding

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Flower Memorial Library in Watertown wants $75,000 dollars from city school district taxpayers to help buy things like books and DVDs.

Library officials say that that over the last 10 years the city has decreased the library's funding for materials by 80 percent.

"With such a drastic reduction in our funds, it's pretty tough to keep purchasing current materials and, you know, what's a library without those?" library board president Carolyn Weldon said.

Over the last few years, the library has renovated its historic building. In 2019-2020 the library is set to receive $1.9 million dollars from the city, but only $13,000 is budgeted for new materials.

"Over 90 percent just covers salaries and the building, so there is about 1 percent that's for materials," library director Yvonne Reff said.

To get the $75,000 from taxpayers, the library will have to have a proposition put on May's school budget ballot.

The library board has already voted to go ahead with the process. Now they will have to circulate a petition and ask the school board to put the proposition on the ballot.

If voters approve the resolution, the library will get $75,000 each year until they ask for more.

"It's our hope that this initiative will ensure that we have sustainable, consistent funding," Weldon said.

On Monday, library officials educated city council members about what they plan to do if the library is successful -- it won’t need the $13,000 it gets from the city for materials now.

Response to the library's plan was positive.

“I think it’s a good move on behalf of the library,” council member Cody Horbaz said.

"Although the book component of the budget is a small component, it's an important component, obviously" Mayor Joe Butler said. "I think you will be back to funding like it was several years ago if you get this to pass."

Library officials say they plan to continue to educate people and do outreaches about the funding.

Copyright 2019 WWNY. All rights reserved.