Adamstown Library trustees ask Denver to reconsider

By on December 19, 2018

Four Adamstown Area Library trustees asked Denver Council to restore the $6,000 funding cut, which is approximately 50 percent of Denver’s total annual contribution.

“We had the total amount in the proposed 2019 budget last week,” said council member Jason South.

South explained that prior to adoption of the budget, the council discussed that the Cocalico School District grant to start the school resource officer (SRO) program could have been in jeopardy because West Cocalico and Adamstown refused to pay their fair share of the cost. An October regional leader’s meeting discussion with Adamstown, Denver, East Cocalico and West Cocalico had some municipalities grumbling, yet no one said they’d not contribute.

Adamstown’s fair share was $6,000. Each municipality’s cost was prorated according to the percentage of students attending the Cocalico School District.

Now East Cocalico and Denver are prorating forty percent of the total SRO cost (approximately $139,000 with benefits) and the school district has increased their funding percentage from fifty to sixty percent.

Currently Denver is billed for all police calls to the three schools in the borough — high school, middle school and Denver Elementary.
Marj Hyrb, president of the Board of Trustees, spoke about the library, first started by volunteers in 1943, and now serving 30,000 people in Adamstown, Denver, East Cocalico, West Cocalico and Brecknock Township. The state designates geographic areas to be served by specific libraries, even though residents can use any public library they choose.

Last year, there were 120,000 visits to the library and programming for all ages is robust. Large numbers of children from each municipality are served, especially during the popular summer reading program. Library programs keep students engaged and off the streets, Hyrb said.

Funding cuts affect children and adults who depend on the library being there and open to complete coursework, study and use the computers, which are available on site and to check out.
Hyrb said that the capital campaign for the new library site at the former Adamstown VFW is about two-thirds funded.

“However, we still need operating funds.” Hyrb praised the trustees and the Friends group for their extraordinary fundraising efforts.
Kathy Thren explained funding cuts have already impacted the operating budget. “We’ve had to reduce hours of operation, cut staff, and we’ll need to make additional cuts to address this latest funding impact.”

Hyrb stressed the library has nothing to do with the SRO issue. “We had no part of that decision making,” she said.

Council member John Palm explained Denver felt it important to spend its money on the SRO to provide protection that’s not currently there for all youth.

No one on council disagreed with the importance of the library. Their thinking supported the idea that every action has a reaction. Over the years, when other municipalities dropped out of a cooperative proposal, Denver always hung in and, as in the case of the SRO, took on a bigger financial stake.

Denver Council vetoed the first motion made last week to cut all funding for one year to the library and use the money for badly needed alley repair work. More discussion yielded the $6,000 cut.
Palm and Daub reminded everyone West Cocalico also needs to understand the message that the Cocalico community must find ways to work together.

Trustee and Denver resident Mitch Fasnacht asked, “What if Adamstown Council reconsidered and funded their fair share of $6,000 for the SRO?”

Daub replied, “You get that to happen and we’ll talk.”

Alice Hummer is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review.

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