Campaign Q&A Documents: Frequently Asked Questions about the June 14, 2005, Election to Establish and Fund the Gloversville Public Library

For nearly 100 years the City of Gloversville funded more than half of the Gloversville Free Library’s annual budget. But in 2002 the City began a drastic reduction of its annual support, and in 2004 appropriated just $5000. The Board of Trustees was faced with the challenge of finding a reliable source of operating income in order to preserve public library services for the community.

The Trustees thoroughly explored every possible option. They have recommended a plan which will give the community a way to keep the library open, now and for decades to come. The proposed plan asks voters to establish a Gloversville Public Library, to approve $198,200 towards the library’s annual operating budget, and to elect a Board of Trustees. The Gloversville Public Library would serve everyone living within the boundaries of the Gloversville Enlarged School District.

1. What is the proposition that will be on the ballot?

  • establish the Gloversville Public Library for the benefit and free use of all residents of the Gloversville Enlarged School District;
  • approve a yearly tax levy of $198,200 to support and maintain the library;
  • elect seven members to the Board of Trustees to govern the new library

2. When is the election?

The election will be held on Tuesday, June 14, 2005, from 12:00 noon to 9:00 p.m.

3. Who is eligible to vote?

All registered voters who reside in the Gloversville Enlarged School District (GESD) may vote.

4. Where will I vote?

The election will be held at the Gloversville Free Library and Gloversville City Hall.

All registered voters who live in Wards 1, 3 and 5 of the City of Gloversville and in the portion of the former Berkshire District #5 of the Town of Johnstown will vote at the library.  (A new covered ramp from the parking lot to the first floor of the library will be completed this spring to make it accessible to everyone.)

All registered voters who live in Wards 2, 4 and 6 of the City of Gloversville and in those portions of the Towns of Bleecker, Caroga, Johnstown and Mayfield which are in the GESD will vote at City Hall.

5. You’re calling this a ‘public library’. How will it be different from the present library?

As a public library, it will have an enlarged service area that corresponds with the boundaries of the GESD. The budget and Board of Trustees of the library will be determined by a public vote. The name will change from the Gloversville Free Library to the Gloversville Public Library.

Many things will remain the same. The Gloversville Public Library will be housed in the same building, staffed by the same professionals, and will offer the same programs and services as the current library.

6. Why are you introducing a new property tax?

For nearly 100 years, City of Gloversville residents supported the library through taxes they paid to the city. However, the city can no longer provide that support, and the library must find another source of income. A library tax is the only way to provide a reliable source of operating income for the library.

7. How will this affect property taxes?

The average tax rate for the library tax will be approximately $0.43 per $1000 of assessed valuation for property located within the school district. The following table illustrates specific rates for school district residents:

City or Town

Rate per
$1000

Annual Tax
on $25,000

Annual Tax
on $50,000

Annual Tax on $75,000

Gloversville

0.4298

$ 10.75

$ 21.49

$ 32.24

Town of Johnstown *

0.4212

$ 10.53

$ 21.06

$ 31.59

Bleecker *

0.4212

$ 10.53

$ 21.06

$ 31.59

Caroga*

0.4212

$ 10.53

$ 21.06

$ 31.59

Mayfield *

0.4771

$ 11.93

$ 23.86

$ 35.78

* These rates apply only to properties within the school district. (STAR does not apply to the library tax rate.)

8. Will the library tax automatically increase every year?

No. Once approved, the library tax will remain the same each year. However, when an increase is needed, the Library Board of Trustees must place a new budget proposition before the voters for their approval. If the voters do not approve the increase, the amount of the annual library tax will remain the same.

9. Why isn’t the Gloversville Free Library “free”?

The term “free” library means that its services are available for everyone in the community regardless of their ability to pay. It does not mean that a library can operate without revenues. It costs money to operate a library just like any other institution.

10. Why are we electing the Board of Trustees?

Voters have a right to determine who will have responsibility for managing public tax dollars raised for library purposes. An elected library board will be directly accountable to voters.

11. Who can run for the Board of Trustees?

Any adult resident of the school district, who is a registered voter, may run for a seat on the Board of Trustees. Interested persons can pick up an informational packet at the library’s circulation desk. Completed petitions must be submitted to the Business Office of the GESD, located in the Gloversville Middle School, by May 16, 2005.

12. How will the library tax dollars be used?

The library tax will only have to provide 55% of the annual operating budget for the new library. It will help to cover such expenses as salaries, utilities, and purchases of reading and audio/visual materials.

13. What other sources of income will the library have?

The balance of the library’s annual operating budget will come from grants, private donations and income from the library’s endowment. The Friends of the Gloversville Free Library will continue their on-going fund-raising efforts on behalf of the library.

14. Will the City of Gloversville be asked to continue financial support?

No. The current contractual requirement to provide $5000 per year will end. However, the City still owns the library building and will continue to provide certain in-kind services to the library, such as snow removal.

15. Why don’t you seek more grant monies and donations?

In the past four years the library has obtained more than 40 public and private grants. These grants must be used for specific programs and not for operating expenses. The library has also actively sought private donations, and the community’s response has been generous. We will continue to seek grants and donations, but it is not realistic to think that these alone can fund library operations.

16. Why don’t you use the endowment to run the library?

Investment income from the endowment will provide 36% of the annual operating budget. If we spend the endowment’s principal, there will be increasingly less income to use in future budgets. Without this income, a much greater amount of tax money would have to be raised each year.

The wills of many of the people who left money to the library stipulated that only the investment income from their gift could be used; the principal was not to be ‘touched’.

17. Why can’t you just charge a fee to anyone who uses the library?

As a member of the Mohawk Valley Library System, our library is not allowed to charge fees or sell library cards.

18. What will happen if the propositions are defeated?

Without public tax support, the library as we have known it for the past 125 years will end. The number of hours the library is open will have to be drastically reduced. There will have to be major reductions in staffing, programs, and purchases of books, periodicals, and other materials.

Failure of the proposition to pass will jeopardize the library’s charter and registration. This would mean that the library would not be eligible to receive any state, federal, or other public monies. There would only be limited grant opportunities. Eventually, there would be no interlibrary loans. In fact, there would not even be a card catalog or other databases to help people find books in the library.

19. Why can’t people just use the Johnstown library?

Johnstown residents support their own library through city taxes. If Gloversville school district voters reject the propositions, it would be unfair to expect Johnstown taxpayers to be willing to provide library services for Gloversville residents. In fact, the Johnstown Library Board of Trustees could deny borrowing privileges to Gloversville district residents.

20. Why don’t you just consolidate with another library, such as Johnstown’s?

Consolidation is an option that has been discussed but would need to be explored much further. Consolidation takes many years to accomplish and could not solve the library’s immediate funding crisis. The creation of the Gloversville Public Library can be accomplished within one year, and will provide an immediate, reliable source of operating income. It will ensure that public library services are available to Gloversville school district residents.

21. Why should I support the library if I don’t use it?

A public library improves the value of the community as a whole. Libraries provide everyone the opportunity for life-long learning. For example:

  • Libraries help children grow into productive citizens by encouraging reading and learning.
  • Libraries supplement the education curriculum of the school district.
  • Libraries help people of all ages improve their job skills.
  • Libraries support literacy and GED programs, which enable many people to enter the workforce.
  • Libraries preserve historical information about the community.
  • Libraries offer resources that assist local businesses and community organizations.

Libraries, like school systems and hospitals, are essential community resources. Businesses and homeowners look closely at these resources when they make decisions about where to locate. A good library helps attract people to our community and enhances the quality of life for all our residents.


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