Residents debate Taylor Library funding during public hearing
DERRY — Whether the Taylor Library’s doors should remain open through another budget season continues to be a topic of debate for some residents.
During a public hearing Tuesday night, a number of residents spoke in favor of maintaining funding for the library in the 2015 Fiscal Year Budget, while others urged councilors to “zero out” the item.
The hearing was held by the council to allow the public to weigh in on the proposed $37 million budget. Along with the library, residents also discussed other budget items such as employee overtime.
Councilors will consider the residents’ comments before casting their final votes on the budget later this month.
In a narrow 4-3 vote during a recent council workshop, councilors decided not to zero out the Taylor Library’s proposed $187,000 budget.
It marked the second straight year the library in East Derry survived a controversial attempt to zero out its budget.
Last year, former Town Administrator John Anderson eliminated funding for the Taylor Library in his recommended budget to the council. But after a number of library patrons and their children spoke against the proposal, the council voted to reinstate the library’s budget.
In Tuesday’s hearing, resident Candace Andrews said the library isn’t an extravagance but has something to offer all age groups.
“The Taylor Library isn’t for a select few,” said Andrews, who is a Talyor Library Trustee. “It’s for all who live, work or go to school in Derry.”
In addition, the library offers valuable services to residents while it only accounts for .4 percent of the total expenditures for the town’s overall budget and just $5.97 per capita, she said.
The library also offers valuable children’s services, including 250 programs a year, with 35 summer reading programs in place.
“I believe if you fail to fund the Taylor Library, you are failing the children,” Andrews said.
Other residents such as Lynn Perkins spoke in favor of eliminating funding for the library.
Perkins said a large portion of the community isn’t being served by the library and the taxes it brings are exorbitant.
“I respect what it is, what it represents, what it has given to the community; But it’s a redundant service,” Perkins said.
The Derry Public Library is located within a few miles of the Taylor Library and there is also a library in every school in town, he said.
Like the council did last year by no longer sponsoring the Derry Farmers Market, Perkins said the town should stop funding the Taylor Library and allow it to be privatized.