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Chappaqua Library Growing While Others Struggle

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - The Chappaqua Library will not be scaling back any of its day-to-day operations despite limitations from the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap, said library Director Pamela Thornton.

"We’re going to have the same amount of hours," she said. "We put more money in books, more money in e-books – which are more popular than ever – we put a little bit more money in programming. And we did give some raises to the salary to all the staff, which are well-deserved."

According to Thornton, the library's continued growth is in contrast to many other public libraries in the area, which have been forced to cut services.

"They’re not buying periodicals, they’re not buying books, they’re not buying reference material," Thornton said. "There are lines of people outside the door waiting to get in because libraries around us are closed on Sunday."

Overall, the library's tax levy budget will increase by 2.82 percent. Thornton said the figure still complies with the cap because of exemptions in benefits and pension, which make up the extra .82 percent.

"We’re not exceeding the tax cap, but there is a complicated formula we must use now to craft our budget," Thornton said.

According to Thornton, the library's pension increase for 2012-13 is $54,000 and the health care increase is $10,000. Thornton said the library was only allowed to add $76,000 to its 2011-12 budget of $2,766,724.

"So when you add those two together it didn’t leave much room," Thornton said. "Luckily, we had some people retire and through attrition and some staff changes... we were able to afford all these new books and e-books and everything within the tax cap. So we’re very happy about that."

Thornton will officially present the library's budget at a board of education meeting on May 1 and will be included in the Chappaqua Central School District's final budget.

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