Tuesday, January 22, 2008

TOWN BD DISCUSSES WAYS TO SAVE CYBERMOBILE AND SUNDAY HOURS

The Greenburgh Town Board discussed, with representatives of the Library Board, ways to save the cybermobile and Sunday library hours.
Winsome Gordon of our philanthropy/grants office advised that the town is reaching out to possible private funders ---there are at least two good possibilities.
A suggestion was made to rent out the cybermobile for birthday parties--the library would make stops at the birthday party's house. The cybermobile could also be rented out --the library would make stops at churches, synagogues, other locations. Naturally, the costs of this service would be assumed by those renting the bookmobile.
Another suggestion--reach out to elected officials at the federal, state & county levels. Ask them if they would be willing to use the cybermobile as a mobile office. Their names would be placed on the outside of the bus, their office materials placed on the cybermobile. Their office would pay a fee to the town -- they could assign staff to drive around with the cybermobile. Rent for the town. Visibility for the elected official.
We discussed accepting advertising on the exterior of the bus --the library insisted that the advertising would have to be tasteful.
Another suggestion--reach out to independent living facilities/nursing homes around the town (outside of unincorporated Greenburgh). They could be invited to rent out the cybermobile - the cybermobile would make stops at these locations. Revenue for the town. More services for senior citizens.
A follow up meeting with the Library/Town Board will be held on Feb 12.

23 comments:

hal samis said...

There must be a time warp or something in the air that acts as a powerful narcotic; either one or both together has to be the explantion for the the flimsy efforts of the the Town Board to neutralize the Library Trustees' decision to eliminate the cybermobile and Sunday hours because of "budget cuts" to Library operations.

It is true that the Library does not want to back down from their stand. However, the ridiculous bundle of suggestions to provide additional funding short of giving in and meeting the Library's ransome demands is not the Town Board's finest hour.

I'm going to try to make this simple for this posting. The Town's Adopted Budget shows that the Library is allocating $321,000 toward the purchase of books, cds and dvds in 2008. This compares with $138,000 in 2007. The subtraction says that they are spending $183,000 MORE on just these three items.

Howard Jacobs presents a doctored cost of operating the cybermobile as $157,000.

Keeping it simple, by not spending more in 2008 for just these materials, the cybermobile would still be rolling.

The Library says that it has to increase these purchases because the expanded building will be opening (or is it that construction will be completed) in October 2008 and they have to be ready for a public hungering for these items.

I don't believe the Library's story and say that #1 either the Library will not be ready to open in October, Novemeber or December (note that Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays reduce Library hours and use) and that the Library will really open in January 2009 or beyond while #2 the Library does open in October but that it can do so and go through its shake-out cruise with fewer items on hand and add them in 2009's budget when it will open for certain.

Allowing either #1 or #2 argues that they should use this extra $183,000 and spend it on things that need to be provided in 2008, the cybermobile and Sunday hours --amenities promised patrons by the Trustees to compensate for the limited temporary Library.

And if you look at the Tentative Town Budget (they are missing from the Approved Budget) you will see that the line items unique to the cybermobile Bus Driver/Clerk, Part-time Driver/Cleaner, Gas. Grease & Oil and Satellite Service Contract only add up to $70,000 and you know that the other employess who worked the vehicle are all still employed by the Library, therefore you are dubious as to why Mr. Jacobs would be marketing this deception and why the Trustees position on retaining the cybermobile is so inflexible.

However, following today's work session, I am more troubled by the nonsense and jumping through hoops that the Town Board is going performing to "make it happen". As this new topic introduces, there are a number of fanciful ideas to provide extra funding to keep the cybermobile in service.

But ask yourselves how quickly these ideas can be implemented, how much income will they provide and in which month from the remaining 11 before January 1 2009 (which I speculate is the Library opening date if they get outside funding for furniture), the cybermobile will actually be in service by the time these "solutions" are operative.

Furthermore, consider the conflicting nature of these remedies. If the cybermobile goes to perform at birthday parties, then as a taxpayer supported service first, it cannot be doing two jobs at once. The hours of birthday parties are likely the hours the cybermobile needs to be providing Library annex functions.

The cybermobile would become reserved for the highest bidder, not the residents of Greenburgh. It makes no difference if the highest bidder is a church or a synagogue or a politician. If State education laws are to protect Libraries from politics, then renting to politicians surely can't be the by-product and providing town own facilites to religious groups cannot be what was envisioned by the Constitution.

Renting the cybermobile to independent living facilities, within (how many are there) and outside of Greenburgh also begs the question of whether taxpayer dollars should be used to provide rental facilities.

All of these ideas are diversions from the basic issue: that the Library Trustees are determined to screw their own patrons unless the Town Board coughs up extra funding.
From my viewpoint, the blackmail payoff is already there, either from more judicious application of 2008's approved Library lines (total dollars if you need to think like State education law) or by the surplus which exists from what was budgeted for 2007 and what wasn't actually spent.

To the new Town Board, I applaud your firmness in not acceding to the Library demand for more dollars (hopefully it is not just because the money isn't there) but I do wish that you would be more decisive and not entertain such lame ideas as are posted herewith.

Finding new sources of funding may allow some shadow of the cybermobile to operate later this year but there is no avoiding that the problem comes from the Library and the only solution is also to be found there.

Anonymous said...

The representatives from the library board who were at todays work session,proved to be the most vicious trio .
They constantly demanded that they needed more money but I am glad that the whole town board told them NO.
They have been getting money right along NO QUESTIONS ASKED,well things have changed there is no more money for you the library board to squander the way that you saw fit.
I couldn't get over the blond lady that said since the budget was cut down by a few million the town board should honor their request.
The library is not going to open on time .
Maybe we are looking at Jan. 2009or beyond for the grand opening.
The library is working well in the space that they are occupying now,
But they still wanted the money that was previously allocated to them for maintenance.
What do they have for brains.
I do hope that the board will not honor all their request.

Anonymous said...

By the way the library board should know that we all pay rent to occupy our living quarters.WHAT MAKES THEM DIFFERENT.

Anonymous said...

If you give in to the Library Board then you cannot say "no" to anyone ever again. Everyone will know that blackmail and extortion work. Goodbye to fiscal responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Re - the library board's position that they alone should choose the next library board member with only rubber stamp approval by the Town Board - all I could think of was Oligarchy on their part.

Town to Library: Drop Dead said...

The library board's obligation under the state education law is to spend the money its been allocated to promote education.

Hal Samis would rather the library spend its money on a broken down bookmobile because, truth be told, if he uses the town library at all, that's what he uses, and if he really needs to use a library, not owning a car, he uses the library in White Plains, which he can get to from the train.

And so, with Feiner's support, he relentlessly attacks the library board members personally because, having had their budget request cut substantially by the town board, they chose to spend the money they had left on books, dvds, and other lendable materials which is what a library is supposed to do.

Samis doesn't really give a tinker's dam about the bookmobile either. Before he went on this latest tirade, he wanted the bookmobile to either leave its spot on East Hartsdale Avenue, or have the library pay the parking district for the use of the parking spaces. He also wanted the library to foot the bill for the cost of electricity used by the bookmobile.

This is a very petty, meanspirited individual, who cannot seem to understand or accept the library board's decision.

What makes this entire episode so sad is that all of the town board members seem to have bought into this seemy charade, and have in the process made a mockery of the library's educational mission and the state's prohibition against politicizing the library's function.

It's one thing for Feiner to do this -- after all, he's been fighting the library for years -- but it's quite another for everyone else on the Town Board to buy into this nonsense.

It's as if everyone in elective office wants to find a distraction from the 19% tax increase their collective financial mismanagement foisted upon us in unincorporated Greenburgh.

Anonymous said...

The Library Bd needs a watchdog like Hal. This ain't about books. It's not about education. It's about taxpayer dollars being used efficiently.

hal samis said...

Perhaps Mr. Drop Dead was underground when the November election results were announced...

Education as envisioned by the State is not what the enormous expenditures by the Library Trustees for books, cds and dvds is about.

How do you want it, Mr. Dead?
If Libraries are about "buying books and dvds and other lendable materials", then why have they misdirected their funding to the cybermobile which is against your dictum of their purpose.

Or, why don't the Schools take on the responsibility of providing education?

But surely their mission is not to just acquire these items? Somewhere I suspect that what they are supposed to do is make them available to patrons because just buying them to store them in boxes makes no sense, to patrons, taxpayers or even the exhalted State Education Department.

And when 70% of the Library's collection is already in dead storage and unavailable to patrons and when no one knows for certain when not only will the construction be completed but also that the new Library is open and ready to receive patrons, it seems a bit foolish, if not idiotic, to spend at the levels that the Library Trustees intend to do in 2008 -- even as they make what they currently own less accessible to patrons by eliminating Sunday hours and the one delivery device that has bolstered what would otherwise by unsustainable circulation levels (relative to the cost of their staff) and that device is the cybermobile which is the Library's most cost efficient delivery mode when they occupy limited space.

So those respected sops who are the Library Trustees are only built up by you because they exist as props only for the purpose to fuel your anonymous drivel about Feiner.

For today's Libraries, it is only about winning the popularity contest (thus buying friends who will tolerate increasingly higher levels of employee compensation) and satisfying a new class of patron -- not one who lost their personal copy of Moby Dick and wants to re-read it but someone who wants to read Robert Ludlum or Robert Parker or Janet Evanovich, someone who wants to watch Pirate of the Caribbean 6 or James Bond 66or National Treasure 5 -- on the cheap. As for cds, this already is the first viable reason to no longer visit the Library -- but online use of the other media is not far behind in the download depot.

So don't toss the manure and pretend that the Library of Tomorrow is about education. Libraries are about entertainment and day care -- for the very young and the very old.

If the cybermobile vanished the day after the new Library opened, I wouldn't lose a minute's sleep.
My argument is holding the Library to its commitment to utilize it while the new Library was under construction. And while I could use the White Plains library, I am sure that I am in the top 25 users of the cybermobile, haven't you heard?

Since obfuscation has not helped your thinking process, let me remind you that one can love someone and still be aware of warts and cellulite. Such is the case of the cybermobile when I argued that they should pay for their free parking in Hartsdale. The merchants don't want the cybermobile taking up those desirable parking spaces but what is wrong in arguing the principle that since the Parking District is supported by those who use its facilities and there is no free lunch, why should only those who pay into the Parking District subsidize a Library which can well afford the $3000 annual cost of the parking. This is only the result of the self-dealing between Howard Jacobs, Library Trustee and Ruth Jacobs (Mrs. Howard), Parking District Director.

As for paying for their own electricity, Jane, you dumb slut, the reason the cybermobile breaks down so often is because it relies on its inboard generator always being in use to provide electricity for the cybermobile to operate. The vehicle wasn't designed for this purpose and the strain upon the generator is the result. However since the Library insists upon remaining where it parked at its longest duration stop, Hartsdale by the train station, while taking up three spaces -- there is no landline source of electric power nearby so the the generator had to be run continuously. The Library Directors, in their insistence to remain where unwanted, refused to park the vehicle in one of the parking garages where electrical connections could be made and the useful life of the vehicle be extended.

Finally because your ability to either understand or retain the obvious, if the Library wants to spend their precious money on more books, cds, dvds and hire more part time staff while still in Town Hall, that is their right but it only guarantees their status in the Hall of Shame because they are doing it at the expense of their patrons who cannot get to the Library other than on the weekend and then maybe only on Sunday and those patrons who have come to rely on the cybermobile for convenience and not to have to take the long walk to and from the stacks within Town Hall.

If they have the money to spend $183,000 MORE on these items than they did while occupying the same space as they did in 2007, and if their budget (after all the "cuts") is still higher for 2008, how come they didn't choose to give their patrons a break, right now, when they need it most versus the on the come reward that may or may not occur later in the year.

If you want to stop spouting your nonsense you would admit that the there are only two reasons that explains their outrageous behavior.

Reason #1
Losing their Fund Balance guarantees the egg on their face when they don't have it to spend on the new building; thus making it harder to hide that the project is way over budget and
Reason #2
They are concerned that when the building opens in 2009, they are afraid that they won't be able to count on the Town Board to give them oodles and oodles of dollars in the 2009 budget to make the Library look full. They want to lock in those dollars today, whatever flimsy excuse they out forward.

Anonymous said...

Is there a demonstrated need (user stats) for the cybermobile? If statistics show low usage, perhaps eliminating it is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Same with Sunday hours ... Maybe there's been low demand for Sunday operations?

Anonymous said...

How many employees did the library have before the construction started?
How many employees does the library have now - a substantially smaller operation?
How many books were taken out before the construction started? How many books were taken out last year?

Anonymous said...

This posting is copied from the item "Greenburgh Democracy - Week of January 21" only because it is relevant to this topic. Unfortunately, this blog doesn't have the capability to link threads of items easily so one may get a better understanding of the various comments.

Today's work session "performance" by certain members of the Library Board of Trustees was truly a sight to behold. No give, just we want, we want, we want.

WOW !!!

As to any new appointments, since the only actual authority that a Town Board has over this body, the Town Board should insist / demand that there be at least two candidates and preferably three for the Town Board to select from in order to put an end to this kind of public be damned Board. Otherwise the Town Board is reduced to five rubber stamps and they were elected fair and square to make decisions, not a group that wants to perpetuate itself and could care less about the public. "Their" preferred candidate no doubt is a very good person, but they may just be in the "wrong place" at the "wrong time". The Library Board needs some new outside "blood" (and eyes and conscience). Keep up the fight for change Town Board; the current Library Board does not speak for the broad based community, just themselves and the "glory" that they bask in.

1/22/2008 4:56 PM

Anonymous said...

I noticed a bus taking senior citizen shopping some time ago.
Why not use this bus to pick up those who use the bookmobile and take them to, at the moment town hall or the other place that the Library Is RENTING.
The town could designate a certain day and time for pickup.
Another way is for the senior to make available the services of the county,Para Transit,
The bookmobile could be eliminated since that is someting the Library Board is hold over our head.
This is just an idea maybe it could be worked on further.

Anonymous said...

This library board has been spending our tax dollars like it were water.
Now is the time to cut the funds that they have been receiving so willingly from the town

Anonymous said...

Now I see why the parking district and the library are on the same wave length,both have a husband and wife running the show.
They both seem to want want and want some more.
Something has got to go for both disfunctional services of this town.
The husband is with the library and the wife with the parking board.
Two services that are bleeding the public with all that they wanted and got .
The raise in taxes for this year has awakened many a people as to where the waste is.
I do hope that the town uses all their energy to get the right people to oversee the goings on.
Then and only then we may see a good reduction in taxes maybe in three years.

Anonymous said...

No one can touch TDYCC for spending.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that no one can touch the center for spending?
Please explain.
If someone is stealing then that's alright with you.
If someone is giving away the ship that's alright with you.
Are there people that don't pay their way please state it.
Do they have ghost workers those on the payroll but never show up to work but they receive their paycheck?
Please tell us what you know .

Anonymous said...

Oh gee, lets think, PROMOTING A "STAFF ASSISTANT" TO INTERIM CHIEF AND DOUBLING HER SALARY.

Anonymous said...

Why is this position asking for so much gelt.
Is this a friend of a friend.
If it pays so much money I think many outside the center would love to apply.I for one.

Anonymous said...

The town officials have got to be kidding to give such a raise to someone who is voted in for that position.
With all the problems here in Greenburgh you are leaving yourself opened with bankruptcy.
What is it that you do not understand.
THE WELL IS RUNNING DRY.WE ARE HAVING TROUBLE MAKING ENDS MEET.
If you are paying out all this money you are better off closing the center and let all those that use the center use the neighboring schools.
When many of us were growing up we had to do with what we had.
The residents that use the center have been spoiled and because of this their demands will be much greater in the coming years.
If the center is too much to run and it is taking too much money from all the residents in the way of tax hikes CLOSE it.

Anonymous said...

Put Samis on the Library Board. In fact make him the chair. We need a honest watchdog who is not part of any lobby or special interest group

Anonymous said...

"We need a honest watchdog who is not part of any lobby or special interest group"

And that is what is suggested at TDYCC????

Anonymous said...

enough with the cybermobile!!!! paul focus on issues that matter, like improving our school district!!!!