Before Mr. Cunningham's presentation, Board President Linda Romano gave a brief intro:
After the meeting, Ms. Lawrence inquired as to the location of the surveys that Ms. Romano referred as being analyzed in a "scientific procedure" in an effort to find out what the residents of New Hartford want to see in their library; supposedly these surveys provided the justification for the 67% increased budget. A FOIL request for the surveys was filed shortly thereafter.
After some back and forth emails [ see our blog "Since when is a FOIL request..." ], Ms. Lawrence was provided copies of the surveys.
We analyzed two surveys that were received; one called "Library Computer Survey" and another called "Survey 2012".
Total "Library Computer Surveys" provided was 22; 11 from New Hartford residents and 11 from other than New Hartford residents [primarily Utica residents].
Most of the suggestions were for more computer classes and a couple of suggestions that would be considered policy changes.
Then we looked at the "Survey 2012" forms. There were 127 total forms with addresses; 69 from New Hartford residents and 59 from other than New Hartford residents.
To give an idea of where those who are not from New Hartford live, there were survey respondents from Burlington Flats, Whitesboro, Frankfort, Utica, Marcy, Sangerfield, Richfield Springs, West Winfield, Clinton, Waterville, Bridgewater, Sauquoit, Rome, Herkimer and Clayville.
We took it one step further by looking to see how many of the sixty-nine (69) New Hartford residents had suggestions.
Exactly forty-four (44) New Hartford residents had suggestions that ranged from more books, more children activities on school vacation days, computer lessons, to being open on Wednesdays.
While twenty-five (25) of New Hartford respondents either had no suggestions or merely said that they were happy with the library just as it is!
(a) almost half the people that filled out the 2012 Survey do not pay New Hartford taxes and therefore, are not required to fund the library at this point;In case you missed Mr. Cunningham's presentation when we posted it after the meeting, we are posting once again. Mr. Cunningham goes point by point through the budget and gives his justification for a budget of almost $1,000,000.
(b) Of the survey takers that are not from New Hartford, none would be required to pay to support the $1,000,000 library budget if the recharter vote is successful because they do not live in the New Hartford Central School District;
(c) about 1/3 of the New Hartford residents who filled out a survey either had no suggestion or stated they were completely happy with the library as is; and
(d) Forty-four (44) suggestions from town residents is hardly representative of a majority of taxpayers...sixty-nine (69) TOTAL New Hartford responses is not even enough to be considered a survey that is representative of the taxpayers in New Hartford.
One last thing, according to page 5 of the 2011 Annual Report for Public And Association Libraries, filed with NYS Library each year, 33% of the registered borrowers using the New Hartford Public Library do not live in New Hartford.
The library recharter, 2013-14 budget and trustee vote will be held on August 23, 2012 at the New Hartford Public Library. Absentee ballots are available.