Library Director: Library Taxes More Visible, but Not Higher
Cedar Grove Library Director Peter Havel explains changes to property tax bill line items.
Recently, Governor Chris Christie enacted the Municipal Library Tax Levy Law, P.L. 2011.c.38(S-2068). This law provides a dedicated line item on property tax bills to fund municipal free and joint free public libraries. In other words, the minimum appropriation of tax money that goes to fund your local library will be displayed as a separate rate on your property tax bill, and you will see the exact tax rate that goes to your public library each quarter, assuming your municipal library operates at what is called the third of a mil minimum funding, as Cedar Grove does. It is important to note that this is not a new tax. It does not result in any increased taxes, it only changes the way the minimum library appropriation is displayed to the public on their tax bill. This is about transparency, and letting the public see exactly where their money is going.
You may be asking yourself, what exactly is this “third of a mil” funding? I’d like to take this opportunity to explain it to those who are not familiar with it, especially in light of this new tax levy law. Third of a mil minimum library funding means that for every$100,000 your property is assessed at you pay $33 annually for your public library. This means that if your home is assessed at $300,000 you will pay a grand total of $99 a year for your library, or $8.25 a month. For this you get nearly unlimited access to books, music, movies, audiobooks, ebooks, magazines & newspapers, as well as regularly scheduled programs, clubs and events. It is important to remember that this dollar amount pays for all library expenditures, including staff. It is difficult to find a better dollar to reward ratio than that these days.
As a reminder, the Cedar Grove Public Library is open 3 nights a week as well as half a day on Saturdays. Examples of the kind of regularly scheduled groups that meet at the library include the new Bridge Club, the Culinary Club, the Italian Conversation Club, 2 book clubs, the Chess Club, and the Knitting Club, and weekly Qigong classes. We host at least one story time a week for children (every Thursday morning at 10am), and thanks to the addition of our new Youth Services Librarian, Ms. Natalie Carlson, we plan to add more weekly events aimed at serving children and young adults. We host concerts, poetry readings, and assorted performers throughout the year, ranging from one-woman plays to cultural studies events to visits from professional chefs. It is difficult to overstate the breadth of programming we offer here.
Also, as the new director of the Cedar Grove Public Library, I would like to thank the town of Cedar Grove for its support of the library. I very much enjoy the strong sense of community we enjoy, and look forward to providing the same standard of outstanding service to the residents of Cedar Grove in the future. I encourage all members of the public to stop in, check us out, and pick up a calendar listing our events. You can stop by to be added to our electronic newsletter email list, or just give us a call at 973-239-1447. In the meantime, we are hard at work on a website so that we can serve residents even more efficiently.
Director, Cedar Grove Public Library