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Computer upgrades included in Smithtown library budget

The Smithtown Library's Smithtown Branch is shown in

The Smithtown Library's Smithtown Branch is shown in Smithtown on Nov. 23, 2014. Photo Credit: Ian J. Stark

The Smithtown Library's proposed 2016 budget reduces the use of reserves to balance the budget, slightly decreases spending and calls for replacing older computers with new models.

The tentative $14.1 million budget decreases spending by $213 over this year's $14.1 million budget. The average Smithtown home assessed at $6,000 would pay $320.09 in annual library taxes -- an estimated increase of $4.93 for the year.

Voting for the library budget, as well as for trustees John Martins and Suzanne Mohr, who are each running unopposed for three-year terms, will take place Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the library's four branches in Smithtown, Kings Park, Nesconset and Commack.

The library's planned tax levy of $13.4 million is about $162,000 more than this year's levy of roughly $13.2 million. The library stayed within the state tax cap.

Library treasurer Joanne Grove said the budget "minimizes our expenses and reduces our reliance on the fund balance, and still provides our patrons with the services they've come to expect."

The largest expense -- about $10.38 million -- was salaries and employee benefits. The staff includes 67 full-time and 87 part-time workers, Grove said. That's a decrease of about $90,000 from this year.

The library has offered incentives the past two years for employees to leave or retire early, Grove said, adding that 18 employees have done so. The budget also reduced expenses for telecommunications and outside service fees, accomplished by negotiating contracts and doing more in-house accounting, Grove said.

The budget calls for about $200,000 in online materials and services -- nearly $40,000 more than this year's budget -- to keep up with patron demand for items like downloadable books, said Grove. It also boosts spending by about $60,000 to $141,000 for equipment such as new computers, which must be replaced every few years, she said.

For more information, visit the library's website at smithlib.org

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