There has been a lot of conversation lately about the increase in the amount that the Mark Skinner Library has requested for Fiscal Year 2014-15.
Although the $44,800 increase in the request amounts to 29 percent, it is wise to point out that the prior three years remained the same at $153,200. There are a couple of facts that I would like to point out: The library will soon be moving into their new home, offering greater services to our residents than ever before, and at expanded hours, all while residing in a more centralized location. And the best part is that belonging to the library is FREE for all Manchester residents.
The construction of this new library has been completely paid for by private donations and bequests. Not one cent of town money has been used, unlike the $1.5 million spent on the construction of Park House.
The requested library appropriation is $198,000. When you take the Parks and Recreation expenses plus Parks and Recreation salaries, the total is $283,744. Even with the anticipated revenue of $135,750, the Recreation Department will cost the taxpayers $148,000. And the amazing thing is that if you want to use the pool, you have to pay a fee even though you are a resident of Manchester.
Now don't get me wrong. I love the rec area and the fact that our town has such a great facility for its residents and visitors. It is a testament to our townspeople that we have voted to provide this park for all of its users, whether swimmers, ball players, skateboarders, walkers, etc.
However, do not forget all the wonderful things that the library provides, and again, for free! So if we are being asked to vote an appropriation to support the library's operation, I hope that the voters of our good town will remember that the $10-15 increase in their taxes will mean computer access for many people who do not have their own computer, access to DVDs, audio books, fiction and non-fiction books, a great children's collection, young reader and teen books, programs for young and old, and a place for many kids to stop on their way home from school to browse through the wonderful offerings provided by the dedicated library staff.
I hope that you will join me in supporting this request from our library.