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Morristown Public Library may be forced to raise taxes following budget cuts

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MORRISTOWN - A tax hike may be the only way to preserve services at the Morristown Public Library after a year of cuts to its budget.

In 2013 the library lost more than $4,000 in funding, $2,300 from St. Lawrence County and $2,000 from the town.

The library’s operating budget for the current year is roughly $40,000.

Library Director Bridget C. Whalen-Nevin said the library is struggling to maintain the status quo in the wake of shrinking funding.

“We need a reliable source of income,” Mrs. Whalen-Nevin said.

The town’s $2,000 cut means the library will get $6,000 next year, but the county’s $2,300 cut represented 100 percent of its annual contribution.

“We’ve made adjustments,” Mrs. Whalen-Nevin said.

One of those adjustments is using the $8,000 raised during the summer’s Plein Air Festival towards the day-to-day operations at the library instead of using the money to fund technology upgrades.

“Our technology is out of date and we need improvements there,” Mrs. Whalen-Nevin said.

Currently the library’s tax levy is $25,000, and the board of trustees is considering raising it.

“The people of Morristown have been supporting the library of their own volition since 1894,” Mrs. Whalen-Nevin said. “There is a wealth of community spirit and understanding that libraries are important.”

The board of trustees will meet on Jan. 13 at the library to make a final decision about whether the raise the tax.

The library has more than 800 active patrons and serves people in Morristown, Brier Hill, parts of Hammond and the outskirts of Ogdensburg.

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