Sunday, August 05, 2012

Please Vote YES on the New Hartford Library . . .

... so I won't have to pay for it any more!

That is because I live in part of the Town of New Hartford that is not in the New Hartford School District.  If voters approve rechartering the NH Library from a town to a school district library, only the taxpayers in the New Hartford Central School District will be taxed to support the library . . .

And, apparently, what a tax it will be!

The library budget is proposed to increase 67% to $893,675!  And from the tone of the recently published statements of some of the incumbent trustees who are running to be elected to the new library board, further increases are to be expected to serve the increased demands of library "patrons."

But who are the "patrons" who are making such demands?

Since this is "New Hartford," it is likely that the current board of trustees reflects the makeup of the "patrons," i.e., they are fairly well-heeled persons who have the means to access information independently on their own dime without having to tap fellow taxpayers to pay for it.   As with any library, in all likelihood the "patrons" are an insignificant percentage of the population that is being asked to pay for the facility. Most taxpayers will seldom, if ever, actually use the library.  Given the library's physical location on the edge of New Hartford Village, it would appear that most patrons drive to the library rather than walk to it.  This begs the question: 

If most patrons drive to the NH library, why not drive to -- and fund -- the Utica Public Library instead? 

Libraries are important for giving the disadvantaged of a community regular access to information that the non-disadvantaged can obtain by other means. That gives the disadvantaged an opportunity to elevate their status through education -- which benefits the entire community.  But how may disadvantaged people reside in the New Hartford School District --  and also have a car to be able to use the NH Library?

Libraries are also important for giving the non-disadvantaged occasional access to hard-to-find information that they might not ordinarily be able to obtain.  How much of such information could or should a school district of only 2600 students be expected to accumulate?

The Utica Public Library is only a few miles from the New Hartford Library.  It may actually be more convenient to some parts of the NH School District than the current Town Library. 

The Utica Public Library is the region's public library.  It is the one that is located closest to the region's disadvantaged who need it the most.  It is also the most centrally located to the region's population who need the library for occasional use. It's collection is already fairly large and it is professionally staffed.  But through urban sprawl the population the Utica Public Library still serves no longer contributes to its maintenance. 

I believe that the hearts of the library trustees pushing this rechartering are in the right place -- but their execution is wrong.  The region can afford only one regional library.  If the trustees are serious about improving the community, they will explore ways to improve and fund the Utica library, and not continue with something that competes with it. If the region could pool its resources in Utica, just think of what a great library we all could have.

In the meantime, I selfishly hope that voters approve rechartering the New Hartford  Library as a School District Library so I no longer have to pay for something that does me and my community little good.

More information about this proposal, including a lot of statistics, is available on New Hartford Online.


Anonymous said...


I was surprised to learn that when it benefits you pocketbook; you would look the other way. I always admired you because you championed a cause that affected everyone.

Because now you would be saving a few pennies; you appear to be agreeing that re-chartering is the way to go. I am disappointed.

Not sure if you read the Utica Observer Dispatch article ( )Out of 14 candidates running only one had the mocksy to let the town residents know that he was against the large library tax increase.

My thought, best the funding stays with the town with an understanding that our elected town officials mandate an annual audit from a CPA firm that is not from this area.

By the way, do you really think there would be a savings to the town residents should the library be rechartered? If yes, you must be smoking something? The current administration will takes the $450,000 savings and spend it something else. Then we will not only be taxed by the town but taxed by the library as well.

We call the above a double whammy!

Strikeslip said...

To anonymous - even though this benefits my pocketbook, I did not look the other way... I commented upon it to raise consciousness.

My post was tongue-in-cheek (with a strong dash of truth to keep it interesting).

Simply put, the M.O. of New Hartford's elite - and those of this region - is to tax a lot of people to benefit themselves. As indicated above, the current Town library does this. The proposed School District substitute continues the practice, only tapping a different group of suckers - I mean taxpayers. If I resided in the NHSD, I would be voting AGAINST this nonsense.

Anonymous said...


One does not raise consciousness when you start your heading with: VOTE YES!

You must understand that people reading your blog will only read the top line and carry that thought with them - regardless of what is written by you.

Anonymous said...

I read the post as a tongue in cheek, or satirical slant on just how ridiculous and out of touch these people are. And the "vote yes", in my opinion, was meant to spark interest, which it did for me. I hadn't been following the issue until I read this post.


Anonymous said...

Some of the area's characteristics include a general lack of sense of humor or irony. The readership of this particular blog seemed to be different. Now I wonder.

Anonymous said...

Sound ideas all. And while you continue to beat the drum of how we should all march down to the city border and just throw away all our identity and pride in our surrounding townships. You fail to see most of us moved out of Utica because of mismanagement and to make a better life for our families. Utica continues to disappoint. You will never get those of us who have moved on to come back. You can propose this utopia of Utica all you want. If this consolidations and annexing all our smaller areas into that city ever happened as you dream, we would continue to move farther away. Essentially causing more sprawl.

I don't want to drive into Utica for anything if I can help it. Thanks for continuing to push ideas that have no benefit to those of us that smartened up and moved. This will be why you will continually get resistance to your well thought out ideas. There is no benefit to those of us that enjoy the suburbs. We work hard and should be able to live where we want. People vote with there feet...... Look at the Utica population the last couple decades.

Strikeslip said...

Anonymous - No one is telling you where to live. It is clear that you wish to disassociate yourself from Utica and Uticans. That is fine. So please DO vote for the library recharter and its increased budget.

But while you are at it, please also petition to disassociate yourself from the Uticans who pay for the part-county sewer district and the Mohawk Valley Water Authority. And propose that New Hartford take over and maintain all the County Roads that Uticans help pay for. (Where are the county markers in Utica?)

You might not want to associate with Uticans, but you depend upon them every day to make your essential services affordable.

Anonymous said...

One can support living where one wants and still support the consolidation of services. The very idea that in a tiny area as ours, that each jurisdiction should or could have their own library, post office or police force makes no fiscal or service performance sense. The very flight that the writer notes is most related to high taxes. One must only look to the taxes of the New Hartford School District to understand the problem. I live in New Hartford, use the Utica library frequently, the New Hartford one, never. Creating and maintaining central services is being smart in an age of declining population and financial resources. It has nothing to do with some vague concept of identity which is actually personal, not geographic.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again with the Utica nonsense. Nobody wants to be associated with this city. Its mismanaged, corrupt and looks like hell.

The city costs the county taxpayers far more than what it brings in in revenue. The social service aspect costs a fortune all by itself.

Strikeslip said...

I agree, Anonymous. Utica is mismanaged, corrupt, and looks like hell. Been so for a long time. That does not change its status as the core of the regional population that makes regionalized services to the suburbs affordable.

In so far as Utica costing county taxpayers more than it brings in, let's separate the social services budget from that. Every society generates its poor. Back when the cost of social services was placed squarely on Utica, many Uticans moved to New Hartford to escape the cost. These are the folks who now think of themselves as being "better than" and no longer wish to associate themselves with Utica.

Social Services are not Municipal Services. The poor are everyone's responsibility.

With Social Services discounted, just what does Utica get from the County? Compare that with what Utica Suburbs get from the County. As an example Utica phone users pave paid for years for the County 911 service, but got none until now.

When Utica goes down the toilet -- and from what I am seeing it probably will -- the whole region will go down with it.

Anonymous said...

The social service problem is an area one; we are poor, old and not well educated compared to most areas.Our economy overall is poor and over reliant on government. Many of the poor live in Utica for several reasons including cheaper housing costs and decisions made a long time ago to concentrate public housing in the city. And, much of Utica's potentially valuable commercial properties are owned by non profits therefore not paying taxes.

Utica is pretty much "down the toilet" but realistically so is the entire area. The region is one of decline and we are smack in the middle of it.

Anonymous said...

Why is the Mohawk Valley Library Association borrowing from the NYS Pension Fund in order to meet current obligations to retired employees?


Dave, Brother Jesse said...

Before I left New York my town's library moved out from under the constraining arm of the school district and formed its own tax district. Over the next five years the library surprisingly found itself in dire need of a new building, more staff, lots of computers, shelves of video CD's, and a few books. The budget tripled while the library cut its hours of operation! That's because the predominant age cohort using the library ... teenagers ... was dropping rapidly. But of course that was happening too in the school district, where they were also hiring more staff. I will admit the women librarians got better looking, but I have never been able to logically explain that. Other than the new building and expanded payroll, budget increases were due to computers, like the film strip projector of yesterday, the latest learning tool that would revolutionize education. Computers are devices that combine ones and zeroes to reproduce themselves like algae floating on the surface of a pond, all the while becoming faster and faster, finally reaching operating speeds of 3.2 gazillion instructions per second while they huddle together in rows in Internet Access Rooms across the nation. A few are used by scientists to solve the riddles of the universe, but most wind up in libraries where old ladies stand in line waiting to use them to send email to their grandchildren. Old men like me use them to comment on blogs. Ben Franklin recommended the lending library as an efficient means of procuring knowledge for the motivated common man who could not afford books. There may be so few motivated common men today that if a town sent every one they could find off to Harvard, it would cost less than they're spending on libraries and computers.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to have a profile of exactly who our libraries to serve and for what purposes. We constantly hear of their virtues with no actual data to support their cost.

Strikeslip said...

that's a good suggestion. my understanding is that a number of teachers use it as a place to tutor students .... ie the taxpayers are subsidizing private business activities.

Anonymous said...


The O.D. Editorial Board hit a home run on their article, " " published in today's Sunday paper.

Comparing the facts in the Romano article against the one written by Catherine Lawrence...there can be no doubt, she scored a triple-home run. Facts cannot be disputed. The blog ( ) has many articles that will give readers objective and fact-based insight into the reasons NOT to recharter and let the town remain as the funding mechanism.

Great job O.D. and Mrs. Lawrence.

RPP said...

In one morning of running errands, I passed the Utica, New Hartford, New York Mills and Whitesboro libraries, all within ten minutes of each other. Why can't activities, hours of operation, staffs and costs be coordinated and shared to maximize use and reduce exepenses?