Riverhead Free Library’s proposed $3.75 million operating budget for 2017-2018 will be the subject of a presentation and public hearing tonight at the library, beginning at 6 p.m.

If adopted, the budget would require a $36,352 increase (1.03 percent) in the tax levy for the 2017-2018 fiscal year — which will be $3.57 million. The increase is within the tax levy cap imposed by state law. The tax levy cap is 1.26 percent for the coming fiscal year.

The proposed budget calls for a spending increase of $83,316, or 2.3 percent over the current fiscal year, with $2.75 million funding personnel costs, up from $2.71 million last year.

The budget relies on increases in non-property tax revenues to help fund the increased spending. Compared with 2016-2017 budgeted amounts, it anticipates a 39 percent increase in fines and fees, a 31 percent increase in revenue from contract districts, and a doubling of revenues from program fees and bus trips (from $6,000 in the current year to $12,000 in 2017-2018).

“The Board of Trustees determined that it was important to maintain high-demand services while keeping the budget as low as possible,” the library said in a statement released with the budget. “The 2017-2018 proposed budget represents minor adjustments in many budget lines, as every possible cost-cutting measure is utilized without cutting materials or services.”

The library had 194,410 visits in 2016, a year that saw attendance of 12,894 people at various programs, the library said. There were 22,391 library card holders in 2016.

The library’s property tax revenue is collected by the Riverhead Central School District and distributed to the library pursuant to a contract between the school district and the library. The school district will enter into the contract with the library if the library’s proposed budget is approved by district voters.  The library budget vote this year is scheduled for Tuesday, April 4 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the lower level meeting room at the library, 330 Court Street, Riverhead.

Riverhead Free Library is a private not-for-profit education corporation supported by public funds. It is managed by a board of nine trustees elected by the Riverhead Free Library Association (residents of the Riverhead Central School District) at the organization’s annual meeting in May. Each trustee is elected to a three-year term of office. Trustees must be 18 years of age or older and residents of the Riverhead Central School District. Anyone interested in becoming a trustee should submit this application to the library director.  2017-18-proposed-budget

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.