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Borough funding to Carnegie library could increase

| Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, 4:12 p.m.

The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall could receive $70,000 from Carnegie Borough in 2017.

Carnegie council President Pat Catena said officials are prepared to double the institution's funding next year and earmark other borough projects without raising taxes.

“That is in there at this point in time,” Catena said. “At this point in time, it doesn't look like there will be a tax increase. That's a good thing.”

The figure doubles the library's 2016 allocation of $35,000.

“We've tried to work in and tried to pretty much get in everything that we talked about.”

Carnegie's 2016 property tax rate is 6.75 mills. The borough's total expenses this year are about $6.1 million.

In October, library staff requested council supply additional funding to support the facility's operating expenses.

Isabel Ford, president of the board of trustees, told council utility costs, including electricity and heating, at the 35,000-square-foot building amounts to $87,000 annually.

She said the library is governed by state standards, which require a full-time master of library science to be on staff and the building to be open a certain number of hours during the week.

“The money is tight,” she said.

Ford noted any grant money the library receives cannot be used to fund operating expenses such as salaries and utilities.

Mayor Jack Kobistek also outlined the need for parking, infrastructure improvements and providing activities for pre-teenagers in Carnegie.

He said factors including businesses moving into the downtown area and events held at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall and other facilities have hastened the urgency for officials to examine solving parking issues.

Catena said final numbers for general fund and sewer fund budgets are still being calculated. The budget is expected to be approved later this month.

“Overall, I think it's a very solid budget at this point in time,” Catena said.

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