Facing an uphill battle to maintain the 58-year-old Peninsula Public Library building, the repairs and maintenance expense has doubled from the $75,000 in the current $3,004,400 million budget. Despite that, the proposed $3,055,877 million budget is only increasing by $51,477.
On the flip side of what Library Director Carolynn Matulewicz calls a “fiscally sound budget” is a decrease in consulting from $150,000 to $75,000 in the preliminary spending plan.
“We are under the 2 percent tax cap and the salaries are contractually controlled and the health insurance is out of our control,” said Matulewicz, adding that the repair expenses are not as much because, “our maintenance staff is excellent at maintaining and repairing and we do what we can in-house.”
Also because of a statewide cut in library funding, there is expected to be only $800,000 to divide among libraries most in need of maintenance, compared to the usual $2 million, she noted.
PPL serves 34,000 people, has 17,900 cardholders, library officials have said. The existing building at 280 Central Ave., in Lawrence, measures 13,500 square feet, and has 23 parking spaces. It is considered the smallest space per user of any library in the Nassau County Library System — .38 square feet per patron — according to a report issued by a report issued by the system in 2008.
The library’s need for a new building, which was nearly a go until local opposition stopped the project last year, is not a luxury, it is a necessity, according to Matulewicz. “We are still exploring options,” she said.
Fuller vs. Oliner
Joseph Fuller has served on the library board for 30 years. He said that being involved is “very rewarding” and civic affairs “is part of my life.” “Because still, somehow despite all the frustrations for the community, I’ve done a good job and want the opportunity to contribute,” he said. “We want the library to function as best it can and we always maintained a tight budget, and I want to make sure it stays that way.”
The frustrations he referred to concern the proposed plan for a new library on a slice of Lawrence village land by Zion Park. The plan had support from one portion of the library community, but it generated opposition from others. The library did not going forward with its agreement with the village to purchase the property.
If re-elected, Fuller said that the priorities are “keeping an eye on the budget and getting the library that the community deserves.”
Reva Oliner said that she wants to use her educational background and networking skills to serve the community “in a more significant way.” “I came down to many library board meetings and I have different ideas on various locations for the library and different ways to mitigate the parking problems and I felt like I was banging my head against wall and not being listened to,” she said. “I think the library is wonderful and the librarian (the library director) is wonderful. I want to do whatever I can do to improve the library.”
The term is five years.
Identical to the Lawrence School District voting for the library budget and trustee is on Tuesday, May 21 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Lawrence Primary at the Number Two School, 1 Donahue Ave., in Inwood; the middle school at the Broadway Campus, 195 Broadway in Lawrence; the high school at 2 Reilly Rd. in Cedarhurst; and Atlantic Beach Village Hall at 65 The Plaza in Atlantic Beach.