“As we proceed through the budget process, I’m pleased to announce that through collaboration with Library Director Janet Torsney, Board President JoAnn McCullough, and the library board, we have been able to craft a budget proposal that meets the library’s full request of $500,000 in discretionary funding above the mandated appropriation of $2,887,767. This investment will help the library to continue to provide top-notch services to all Montclair residents,” Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller said in a statement on fully funding the Montclair Public Library budget request. ”
“Working together with Mayor Spiller and in partnership with the Council, we have developed a budget we can be proud of in an extraordinarily difficult time for municipalities and libraries across the state. This budget will allow us to continue to serve the residents of Montclair with high-quality facilities and resources,” said Interim Library Director Janet Torsney.
On March 10, the Board of Trustees approved a revised budget request of $3,367,267 from the Township. This appropriation includes $2,867,267 in mandated funds and $500,000 in discretionary funds.
“I am happy to hear this figure was agreed upon, and will vote to include it in tomorrow night’s budget adoption. I have always supported adequate Montclair Library funding since the time I was Mayor, 20 years ago,” added Councilor at Large Bob Russo. “The Public Library is a vital part of our community and we cannot afford to allow budget disagreements to jeopardize its successful programs!”
In an email to residents who had written to him regarding the library, Councilor at Large Peter Yacobellis said that he, Councilor Schlager and Councilor Price Abrams had worked specifically with library staff, trustees, our own staff and the library foundation over the last 90 days to identify several funding scenarios and matrixes to affect everything from hours of operation to programming to materials and along with Councilor Russo, banded together to maintain a firewall for library funding that we’ve been able to hold and will begin to vote on tomorrow night with the kick-off of the budget season.
“It takes four votes to advance a budget. I’m really proud of my colleagues and hope that we have a new bare minimum to work off of going forward. I certainly don’t want to go through this every year. I want to get beyond asking the library to feast on scraps and develop a long-term funding plan and approach to capital investment,” said Yacobellis.