Council votes not to zero out Taylor Library budget
DERRY — For the second year in a row, the Taylor Library in East Derry has survived a controversial effort to eliminate its budget.
An attempt to zero out the library’s $187,000 budget failed in a narrow 4-3 vote during a recent Town Council workshop.
Last year, former Town Administrator John Anderson eliminated funding 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.
Council Chairman Mark Osborne made the motion to amend the library budget to 0 for the 2015 Fiscal Year during the council’s Thursday night workshop.
In support of his motion, Osborne cited the relative close proximity of the Derry Public Library, which is less than two miles from the Taylor Library. In addition, Osborne cited figures showing that approximately $160,000 of the library’s budget goes to salaries and benefits.
“Cleary, I just don’t think a town this size needs two libraries,” Osborne said.
He also said the council had received clear direction on the need to reduce the budget and bring down taxes from residents during the school deliberative session earlier this year. One resident after another came to the microphone to urge the town council to lower costs, which strongly moved him, he said.
“I’m not going to lie, it changed me, and it really made me wonder, ‘maybe they’re right,’” Osborne said.
Osborne said he knew his motion to eliminate the Taylor Library budget wouldn’t make him popular, but he felt he has an obligation to the residents who called for change.
Councilor Thomas Cardon disagreed, saying the library has historic significance to the community and the decision would mean jobs would be lost. Cardon said he favors a level-funded budget, but he didn’t want to see people laid off for the sake of reducing the budget.
“This represents a cut in personnel,” Cardon said. “It affects the community as a whole. I don’t want to be remembered as the town council that cut a 135-year-old library.”
Councilors Joshua Bourdon, David Fischer and Phyllis Katsakiores also spoke in favor of keeping the library’s budget intact.
Instead of focusing on the Taylor Library’s budget, Bourdon said Derry should address the real problem of a lack of an industrial/commercial base in town, which could bring in jobs and lower taxes.
Bourdon said he also didn’t want to see Derry left with another vacant building if the council voted to zero out the library’s budget and close its doors.
In the 4-3 vote, Cardon, Bourdon, Katsakiores and Fischer cast the opposing votes to defeat the proposal to zero out the budget. Osborne was joined by Councilors Al Dimmock and Michael Fairbanks in voting in favor of the motion.