View the 2023-24 Budget Documents
Albany Public Library Budget Vote is May 16, 2023
Albany city residents go to the polls Tuesday, May 16, to vote on the Albany Public Library (APL) 2023-2024 tax levy. The budget plan was unanimously approved by the library’s Board of Trustees at its March 14 meeting. There is no trustee election this year as no board terms are expiring.
The proposed 2023-2024 operating tax levy of $7,710,529 reflects a 4.58 percent increase in the annual total tax levy. This percentage increase is under this year’s New York State tax cap for APL. If approved by voters in May, this increase means that the owner of a $150,000 home would pay approximately $11.16 more in library taxes next year.
“Albany Public Library continues to operate a lean organization while providing quality library services to our community. Even so, we are facing new economic realities,” said Executive Director Andrea Nicolay. “Costs have risen in almost every facet of our operation, and this increase is critical to achieving fiscal stability and sustainability.”
Thomas McCarthy, president of the APL Board of Trustees, said, “The proposed budget is a responsible plan that addresses historic inflation and energy costs. Our Board is committed to putting APL in a position to succeed in all aspects of its operation, and I believe this budget provides the best possible library services for all our users while ensuring fiscal sustainability. I’m grateful to the Trustees and staff members who helped create this proposal and I look forward to supporting the budget this May.”
The library is hosting an initial budget information session on Wednesday, May 3, at 6 pm at the Washington Ave. Branch.
The Library’s Budget Process
The library’s spending plan dictates how we allocate funds across the system of seven branches. We are primarily funded by local taxpayers, but also receive backing from the state and through grants and donations. The library’s leadership regularly reviews the annual budget and long-range financial plan to ensure we are making fiscally responsible decisions that result in operational efficiencies.
Some budget facts:
- The yearly budget is developed in an open process, reviewed in public meetings, and approved by the Board of Trustees. Then, it is presented to the voters.
- The public gets to vote on the library’s tax levy every May (there is no vote if the tax levy does not increase).
- As a local government, Albany Public Library budgets fall under the tax cap regulations established by the NYS comptroller.
- The library’s major operating costs are: salaries and benefits to the library staff; maintenance and operation of seven library buildings; cost of computers and software for public and staff; purchase of books, periodicals, databases, and other borrowable materials; and programming for the community.
- The budget includes supplemental income from state and federal grants, fines and other fees, and contributions from foundations and individuals. The majority of support for the library comes from the annual tax levy.
The library budget supports:
- Use of seven award-winning neighborhood libraries
- Access to a large and diverse collection of books, DVDs, music CDs, audiobooks, magazines, eBooks, and other digital materials
- Public computer use and WiFi access at all locations
- Programs including computer classes, financial workshops, job search assistance, music performances, book reviews, movies, story times, and health and wellness activities for all ages and interests
- Personalized assistance with information and research needs from professional librarians
- Use of community meeting rooms and study rooms
- Use of the Albany History Room that archives valuable historical books, newspapers, photographs, city directories, and census records for genealogy and other research
- 24/7 online access to the collections, databases, and digital books and music