Library Still Waiting On State Aid Decision

James Prendergast Library officials are still in limbo about whether the state aid the facility receives will be cut by 25 percent.

Tina Scott, Prendergast library director, told The Post-Journal Monday that she updated the library board on the possible state aid cut during its regular meeting May 16. Scott said because information provided to the state by city officials wasn’t in a certain format, city officials had to resubmit the information.

“(State officials) came back and said they wanted the information in an formal affidavit,” Scott said. “It needed to be formalized. It needed to be notarized. It’s still in the works. It’s just about getting there.”

Scott said no timetable has been given by state officials on when a decision will be made. Because of funding cuts to the James Prendergast Library of 50 percent in 2018 and 71 percent in 2017 in the city of Jamestown budget, the library’s state funding could be reduced. Because of these cuts, the library had to apply for a waiver with the state so its funding isn’t cut by 25 percent in 2019.

The Prendergast Library receives around $75,000 from the state annually in aid.

Library officials have to apply for the waiver because of the state’s Maintenance of Effort for Public Library Systems clause, which tries to ensure that local municipalities will also fund the library so the state isn’t the only taxing entity supporting the facility. If a library’s funding is cut by more than 5 percent in two consecutive years by the local municipality, the facility could lose 25 percent of its state aid. The city cut the library’s funding by $50,000 in 2018 and $250,000 in 2017.

Scott said the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System is officially handling the wavier process with the state.

In other business, Scott said the library will be part of two fundraisers in the next month. She said from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, Chautauqua Hospice and The Resource Center will host a fundraiser in Dow Park, the park north of the library across the Sixth Street, called “Loose Change for the Library.”

Also, the library will be participating in Give Big CHQ Thursday, June 13, which is a 24-hour fundraiser for several community organizations hosted by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation.

Scott said the library’s fundraising goal for the year is $75,000, with both events helping to reach the objective.