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Milford Library Satisfied w/Mayor's Budget Proposal

In the Mayor's Recommendation for the 2013-2014 budget, the Library will get approx. $8,000 less than requested, but $48,000 more than they received in last year's budget.

 

When asked about funding of the Milford Library during a recent press conference about the 2013-2014 City of Milford budget, Mayor Ben Blake said, "I've always believed that you should judge a town or municipality based on its library."

Milford Library Director Jean Tsang noted that the increase in the library's budget is due "to contractual raises."

"Employees are now paying a cost share for benefits and social security take out has gone back to previous rates," Tsang said, "so it really is not a significant raise."

Tsang was sympathic to the tough decisions that Mayor Blake needs to make in compromising his budget recommendations.

"I would never want to have the budgetary responsibilities that the Mayor, Board of Aldermen, and Board of Finance have," Tsang said. "We all face a rising cost of living at home, but in a municipality it’s exponential. It’s difficult to maintain the level of service that our taxpayers are used to and yet keep taxes in check."

"The library was given a real boost last spring," Tsang added. "The Mayor and the Board of Aldermen passed a resolution to give the library back its fines and fees. This has given us the funding to purchase eBooks and to enhance our downloadable audio book collection."

"Without this additional funding," Tsang said, "we could never have afforded these added services."

Mayor Blake noted that the resolution giving the Library back its fines and fees will be permanent and continue in 2013-2014.

CuriousOrange February 18, 2013 at 04:00 PM
; D
RONALD M GOLDWYN February 18, 2013 at 10:43 PM
In addition to providing aids to the handicapped the Milford Lions club funds their large print book collection. We do think we are a friend of the Library.
Alex February 19, 2013 at 12:07 AM
Totally agree with the mayor on this one. Our communities are judged on services like the public library, and we should be proud of ours. I just wish it were open on Sundays.
Tom Jagodzinski February 19, 2013 at 02:22 PM
I compared Milford's per person library funding to 39 other towns and cities in Ct and found that Milford ranks 37th out of 40. Milford could double its spending and still be substantially below average. If the mayor is right and you should judge a town by its library, Milford is below average.
Michael Brown February 19, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Way to kick the librarian on the way out Jag. Why did you only check 40 libraries? There are 169 municipalities in Connecticut.
Alex February 19, 2013 at 02:40 PM
Actually, no. I'd say that, based on your numbers and the quality of the libraries in the city, Milford is doing a great job working with a budget that, according to your investigative work, probably should have increased even more. Way to go Milford! I'll see you all at the library.
Tom Jagodzinski February 19, 2013 at 02:42 PM
I am not commenting on the librarian but on the failure to properly fund the library something Jean has no control over. It's an embarrassment that the Mayor doesn't even realize we have an underfunded library.
Tom Jagodzinski February 19, 2013 at 02:44 PM
I have no problem with the library management and staff. I've always found them helpful and professional. They do an amazing job given the lack of funding.
Alex February 19, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Based on her comments, it seems to me like Jean is pleased with the budget. Moreover, I would think many people would be pleased with the fact that the administrators and staff at our libraries have done so much with so little. Shouldn't this be an opportunity to celebrate the city's frugality? I don't think there's anything to be embarrassed about when it comes to our libraries or the city's management of the essential services they provide.
Tom Jagodzinski February 19, 2013 at 03:00 PM
The administrators and staff should be celebrated. A city with a underfunded library not so much. Over the years I used 6 different libraries in Ct on a regular basis and it did take more than a few trips to the Milford library to know that it was underfunded. I've also spoken to a couple library professionals outside Milford and I can describe their view of Milford's library funding as a pity. As for Milford managing essential services, apparently you don't count the parks overgrown by weeds, grass uncut, burned out streetlights not replaced for months, trash not removed form city property and graffiti left for over a year.
Alex February 19, 2013 at 03:15 PM
And here I thought that this was an article about our libraries (which is what the "they" in my final sentence refers to). I know that there's a vocal contingent of commenters on this site that find reason to complain about everything that goes on in this city, but I would hope that there are certain issues (say, the city running a respectable library on the cheap) that are exempt from criticism. If you can't see the good in that, I think the problem might have less to do with the city and how it's run and more to do with you and your way of seeing the world.
Tom Jagodzinski February 19, 2013 at 03:18 PM
The city is running a second or third rate library on the cheap. The only thing that keeps it from being a complete fiasco is excellent administrators and staff.
Concerned Parent February 19, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Tom...A library is not a measure of a town's ranking. You take these rankings at face value, which is sad. We have a great town and are living in a time where nothing is perfect. No one is in that position. If you are, then congratulations as you are in the upper percentile of all the town residents. There's a saying.. "Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you'll be a mile away and have his shoes."
Tom Jagodzinski February 19, 2013 at 03:32 PM
It's Mayor Blake who said "I've always believed that you should judge a town or municipality based on its library." He is the one who raised the issue of judging Milford by its library.
Alex February 19, 2013 at 03:50 PM
I guess I just don't agree with your criticism of the library. I'm there every Saturday with my kids, and I've never found myself wishing for services and programs that aren't already provided. Frankly, I'm surprised by its quality, considering its relative lack of funding.
Angus February 19, 2013 at 04:15 PM
Actually agree, up to a point, w/Mr. Jagodzinski on this one. The library was choked year after year by Mr. Richetelli and his Republican cohorts. They clearly didn't care much about the library. It is poorly funded as far as library's in Connecticut are concerned. They, for some reason, don't have their own website, which is a disgrace and although they have eBooks now, the collection is heartbreakingly small. They need an infusion of $ from the town. Until that happens the library will, unfortunately, be lackluster despite the best intentions of the staff. I hope Mr. Blake will remedy this.
Tom Jagodzinski February 19, 2013 at 05:33 PM
It's unfortunate that Milford has so many politicians that constantly tell people things that are not true. They either don't know what's going on or are intentionally misleading people. If you want to keep library funding low don't go around telling everyone the city has a great library.
JE February 19, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Ah, it must be an election year. Getting off to an early start? Angus does have a very valid point. Mayor Blake found a way to increase funding for the library without burdening the taxpayer. I was appalled years ago when I discovered my late fines did not go back to the library. I think everyone assumed they did.
Angus February 19, 2013 at 07:45 PM
JE, the late fee fines is chump change though. The library baord needs to be a much stronger advocate for the library. That is what they were appointed to do. The library has been nickel and dimed to death, what needs to be done in order to bring it up to where it needs to be is a large influx of $ combined with a healthy increase in its annual funding.
JE February 20, 2013 at 03:08 AM
Late fees amount to about $25,000 a year. I don't call that chump change.
Angus February 20, 2013 at 03:37 AM
I am curious where you got that figure. I work in a Comnecticut Library that is larger and busier than the Milford Library. Our overdue fines don't come close to that. Either Milford library patrons are chronic deadbeats who can't return materials on time or your figure is skewed.
Alex February 20, 2013 at 04:00 AM
$25k was actually incorrect; it's a bit closer to $30k: http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Library-will-get-to-keep-overdue-fines-3571026.php
Angus February 20, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Thanks for that link. Very interesting.
JE February 20, 2013 at 12:37 PM
I actually went to the city website and looked at the revenue in an older budget document. Revenue is not shown in the current docs since the revenue is not going to the city. In 2009 the estimated revenue from fines was $25,000.
Alex February 20, 2013 at 12:52 PM
It's quite a bit more than I would have guessed, but, having been hit by the $1 a day late charge on DVDs, I know those fines can add up fast.
Michael Nelson February 20, 2013 at 01:12 PM
As a whole, we need to stop viewing quality with how much we spend. While I do not question how much was/is spent on our library, it's inappropriate to assume towns that spend less on entities like a library are inherently inferior to those that spend more, and vice versa.
Alex February 20, 2013 at 02:35 PM
I totally agree. I think the citizens of Milford get a great return on their library investment. That said, I think the library would improve with additional funding, and I think that this is something that should be a priority, as a library is an essential feature of any thriving community.

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