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Ogdensburg children’s librarian may fall under budget ax again

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Ogdensburg Public Library may have to go a third year without a children’s librarian depending on how its 2013 budget shapes up.

Library Director Wayne L. Miller said Monday that the library’s proposed $605,995 budget for next year may have to do without the position if it’s decided that money from its $34,000 salary can be used to shore up possible cuts in other expenses like books, heat, light and power.

“It’s not out of the realm of possibility,” he said.

The children’s librarian position has been vacant for budgetary reasons since the January 2011 retirement of Bonnie Wright. Funding was restored in the city’s 2012 budget, but the library waited until last summer to look for a replacement. An early 2013 hiring was predicted.

But having a new children’s librarian on board in 2013 might not necessarily be a sure thing.

The proposed $16.9 million 2013 city’s budget allocation grants $59,013 less than the $666,018 library officials asked for.

It is also $1,129 less than this year’s $608,214 budget.

The library budget’s highlights include $30,911 for book purchases, but that is less than the $35,000 that was requested.

Also, $57,510 to match a state grant for window replacement and rehabilitation has been pulled and moved to a proposed packaged bond that also includes between $280,000 and $300,000 for a pumper truck for the fire department and $122,000 for the city Parks and Recreation Department to buy a Zamboni ice maintenance vehicle for the rink at the Richard G. Lockwood Civic Center.

Also, on Monday, the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators approved a $235 million budget for 2013 that, among other things, dropped funding for the county’s public libraries.

That means $11,502 the Ogdensburg library won’t be getting next year.

“There is not a lot of loose change out there,” Mr. Miller said.

If the bond route is pursued, it will be up to the city to calculate how much the library will have to pay back annually over the life of the loan.

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