Can we afford to keep Norwood Library open?
Monday, November 7, 2011 - 12:28 pm

To the Editor:

On November 15, 2011, the registered voters of the Norwood-Norfolk school district who live in the 13668 zip code will have the opportunity to decide whether or not the Norwood Library should receive $85,000 a year from the above mentioned taxpayers.

What does this mean to the taxpayers of this special district? It means that if your property is assessed for $75,000, then you will be paying an additional $77 per year. If your property is assessed for $100,000, you will be paying an additional $96 per year, $145 for an assessment of $150,000, and $192 for an assessment of $200,000.

In these economically strained times, do taxpayers have additional funds to support the library? Currently, Norwood has 779 library cardholders. With an approximate population of 2,900, this means only 27% of the population is using the library. Are taxpayers willing to pay $77, $96, $145, or $192 a year for a library that only a little more than a quarter of the population uses?

In addition, before the Norwood Library’s fiscal crisis, the library’s budget was $63,000. Why is the library board asking for $85,000? That is $22,000 more than the previous budget. This is an increase of 35%. Doesn’t this seem slightly greedy, especially in these tough economic times?

Finally, for approximately the past year, the Norwood Library director, along with volunteers, has been operating the library for the 22 hours a week that it is open. The cost of the library director’s wages was $15,000. In the flyer mailed to those living in the Norwood Library special district, the library board plans to increase personnel costs to $45,000 a year if they receive the $85,000. If the library has been able to serve the public with one employee and volunteers for the past year, why is it necessary to hire additional workers? Shouldn’t the library continue to be fiscally responsible?

It is my hope that the taxpayers in the special district will consider these questions carefully before voting on November 15. As a community with school taxes that increase every year, and town/county taxes that increase almost every year, can taxpayers really afford another tax?

Georgia Wyatt