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Monday, December 05, 2011

PPL: The Crux of the Budget Problem




A display from July 2011 celebrating 110 years of service by the Plattsburgh Public Library.


As mentioned in a previous post employees of the Plattsburgh Public Library recently learned without any heads-up that six positions might be eliminated, the bad news being first heard through the newspaper, not from the Library Board.

So what caused the budget problem leading to the possibility of staff being axed?

There is a document posted on Facebook entitled "Script For Contacting Your Representative About The Budget Problems At Plattsburgh Public Library" that apparently provides the answer. The document is pasted below in its entirety but one sentence stands out:

"Here is the situation with the Plattsburgh Public Library, which is the central library of the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System--the use of a contingency fund (a finite amount of money) to balance the library budget for the last three years was allowed to happen by the library's Board of Trustees and the City Council and is now leading to a $150,000 shortfall for the budget year 2012."

Supporters of the library are scrambling before the next Library Board meeting that will be dealing with the issue. The meeting will be held today, Monday, Dec. 5th, in the Clinton County Personnel Department conference room, Margaret Street, at 4:30 PM. The timing of the surprise announcement gave supporters less than three days to organize. As one person observed:

"We need to get the word out to as many people as possible to call AND attend the meeting tomorrow! This is very short notice (deliberately so) and we need a LOT of support!"

A rally opposing the cuts will be held before the Library Board meeting.


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SCRIPT FOR CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVE ABOUT THE BUDGET PROBLEMS AT PLATTSBURGH PUBLIC LIBRARY


I am contacting this office as a constituent of _______. Here is the situation with the Plattsburgh Public Library, which is the central library of the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System--the use of a contingency fund (a finite amount of money) to balance the library budget for the last three years was allowed to happen by the library's Board of Trustees and the City Council and is now leading to a $150,000 shortfall for the budget year 2012. There is a possibility of massive layoffs (more than 1/3 of the staff) and, potentially, the reduction of hours and the loss of New York State accreditation. I am asking for my representative to show support for local libraries by contacting the Plattsburgh City Council and asking to have the situation addressed in a way that preserves library service for the large number of communities that rely on Plattsburgh Public Library. There is a meeting today (December 5) at 4:30 to address this situation--can your office please contact our City leaders ahead of this meeting as a show of support?



Bill Owens: (518) 563-1406 (Plattsburgh office), (202) 225-4611 (DC office)

Janet Duprey: 518-562-1986 (Plattsburgh office), 518-455-5943 (Albany office)

Betty Little: (518) 561-2430 (Plattsburgh office), (518) 455-2811 (Albany office)



If you are a resident of the City of Plattsburgh, please contact your City Councilor as well:

http://www.cityofplattsburgh-ny.gov/About/CouncilorDirectory


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