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Greenburgh Daily Voice serves Ardsley, Edgemont & Greenburgh
Greenburgh Daily Voice serves Ardsley, Edgemont & Greenburgh

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Greenburgh Cuts Further Into Library Budget

Linda Karesh, president of the Friends of the Greenburgh Library, urged the Town Board to reconsider cuts made to library's budget.
Linda Karesh, president of the Friends of the Greenburgh Library, urged the Town Board to reconsider cuts made to library's budget. Photo Credit: Samantha Kramer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Greenburgh Public Library employees would love the chance to remain open on Sundays. Unfortunately, like many other things, it's just not in the budget.

Library representatives were already unsatisfied when the Greenburgh Town Board allocated $3 million to the library's operating budget, a $378,000 increase from last year.

But after the Town Board met with department heads to finalize the budget over the past few weeks, that increase has dropped by about $30,000, said Cory Deitchman, assistant to the library director. Linda Karesh, president of the Friends of the Greenburgh Library, said the library deserves more.

"You've cut our modest increase, which gives us an infinitesimal increase," Karesh said at a budget hearing Wednesday night. "We're doing more and more for the people of this town with less and less each year."

Library Director Eugenie Contrata has been trying to launch Sunday hours for the library, the one day it closes, and said it would be possible with an additional $40,000. Deichtman said that's unlikely to happen.

"I don't see the Town Board giving us that money," he said.

The library has lost a quarter of its full-time employees due to budget cuts since its opening in 2005, Deichtman said. Without the Friends of the Library contributing annual funds through its book sales, he said, the library couldn't provide the amount of programs that it does.

"Friends of the Library contributed $13,000 last year that we used on programs, which we couldn't have done otherwise, and $15,000 this year," Deichtman said. "They care about the library and want to see it offer as good as services possible. Without Friends, the programming would be very limited."

Town Supervisor Paul Feiner had congratulated the library for its efforts to provide shelter and power outlets to people who lost electricity because of Hurricane Sandy.

"After the hurricane, the Greenburgh Library proved its value," Feiner wrote in an email. "The library staff worked with the town to expand library hours for patrons who needed a place to go during the crisis."

But while Feiner said Wednesday that the budget is still subject to change before it is adopted on Tuesday, no major increases seem to be in store for the library. Feiner wrote in his budget proposal that even though library appropriations were "relatively flat" from last year, a fund balance of $380,000 will ensure the library's services are not reduced.

"In terms of the library, it's not a cut in services. They'll still be able to offer everything they proposed," Feiner said. "We're going to try to run as tight a ship as possible."

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