Monroe Free Library’s 2019 budget is on Tuesday’s ballot

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MONROE — In addition to candidates for state, federal and judicial offices, voters in the Town of Monroe (with the exception of those living in the Village of Kiryas Joel) will also have the opportunity to vote on the Monroe Free Library’s 2019 spending plan on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

The proposed budget totals $1,354,325; that would represent an increase of $45,000.

Library officials said the additional funding will go to increase programming of all kinds: Children’s, Teens and Adults. The book budget will also be increased. Other expenses, such as professional fees, including the yearly audit, and insurance have also gone up.

The Board of Trustees has also decided to increase the Building Fund Line, in anticipation of the work that will need to be done on the property next door, formerly known as the Book Garden. Though no formal plans have been adopted, the building will either need to be gutted and renovated or torn down. Earmarking money for this project now will help reduce “sticker shock” later if it turns out the library needs support from the town.

The library lost revenue this year from two fine-free initiatives. First, the library activated what are called automatic renewals. Now, most books and materials will renew themselves automatically when their due date arrives, giving the patron another few weeks of borrowing time. This has greatly reduced the amount of money the library receives from fines.

Second, the library made senior citizens exempt from late fees of all kinds.

Library officials said both of these were adopted to make trips to the library a quicker, more enjoyable experience.

The library also slightly increased hours, starting last month, opening earlier on most days.

There are approximately 19,000 eligible voters in the Town of Monroe, including people living in the Villages of Harriman and Monroe.

The Village of Kiryas Joel withdrew from the library district more than a decade ago, making its resident ineligible to vote.

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