The town of Clarkson is not paying its fair share of the revenue for the Seymour Library, and hasn’t been for years. On the other hand, the Village of Brockport has been paying more than its fair share of the library funding. Last year, so did the town of Sweden.
The current agreement to fund the library is broken and a library district would fix it. The funding for the library is set down in the Tri-municipal Agreement signed by Clarkson, Sweden and Brockport officials on September 26, 1990.
At the time, the government of the Village of Brockport was providing the revenue for the Seymour Library. The Village of Brockport did so even though the library served the residents of Clarkson, Sweden, and Brockport. So Clarkson and Sweden were getting a free ride. But that couldn’t go on forever.
The population of Brockport was fairly stable because almost all the land in the village had been developed. But the population of Clarkson and Sweden was growing much faster. So the percentage of people from Clarkson and Sweden who were using the library was growing too, and the library found it difficult to continue operation on the available funds from just Brockport.
The governments of the two towns realized that and agreed to start paying their fair share of the cost of operating the library. So they signed the Agreement to Establish a Village-Town Pubic Library Operated by and Serving the Village of Brockport, the Town of Sweden, and the Town of Clarkson State of New York.
The agreement was approved by the Village Board, and the Town Boards of Clarkson and Sweden. The Tri-municipal Agreement worked well for ten years. But then the towns of Clarkson and Sweden started violating the terms of Section (8) of the Tri-municipal Agreement.
Section (8) of the agreement is seven sentences long. According to the first sentence, the funds for the operating budget for the Seymour Library are to be voted each year by the legislative bodies of the three municipalities.
All three municipalities comply with that provision. But the towns of Clarkson and Sweden do not comply with the provisions set down in three of the other six sentences in the Tri-municipal Agreement. Brockport does.
The second sentence in Section (8) reads, “In establishing an equitable share to be borne by each municipality, population shall be used as the basis for calculation.” So it is clear that the elected officials from Clarkson and Sweden who signed the agreement understood that their fair share of the library budget is to be based on the population of the towns. But the present governments of Clarkson and Sweden seemed to have forgotten that.
The third sentence in Section (8) reads, “The initial calculation of equitable shares for each municipality shall be based on population figures obtained from the most recent census data.” All three municipalities complied with that provision and based the equitable shares on the population figures in the 1990 U.S. Census. The problem is that Sweden and Clarkson keep using population figures from the 1990 census, even though those figures are out of date.
The fourth sentence in Section (8) reads, “Thereafter, equitable shares shall be recalculated and adjusted every five years based either on census data (available every 10 years) or on intermediate estimates of population obtained from the best available source at five year intervals between successive census counts.” Unfortunately, Clarkson and Sweden have failed to do that. Moreover, Clarkson and Sweden have resisted all efforts by the Village to get them to comply.
Clarkson underfunded the library by $12,006 this year.
Sweden overfunded the library by $10,730
The fifth sentence in Section (8) reads, “The equitable share of funding specified above shall be achieved over the first five (5) years of existence of the new Village-Towns public library.” All three municipalities complied with that provision.
The sixth sentence in Section (8) reads, “Each municipality shall move from its existing level of funding to its equitable share in five equal steps during the first five years of the new Village-Town public library.” The three municipalities also complied with that provision.
The seventh sentence in Section (8) reads, “Appropriations made by the participating municipalities shall be paid in full to the library treasurer within sixty (60) days after the beginning of the respective municipality’s fiscal year.” Prior to the past two years (2014 – 2015), the Town of Sweden had not been complying with this provision of the Tri-Municipal Agreement. Sweden had a history of paying late.
Because the towns of Clarkson and Sweden refused to recalculate and adjust their equitable share every five years based current population data, the Village of Brockport has had to pay more than its fair share.
Brockport Mayor Margay Blackman crunched the numbers and showed that according to the 2010 census Clarkson underfunded the library by $12,006.70 last year. Sweden overfunded the library by $10,730.54, and Brockport overfunded the library by $1,276.16.
2000 Population = 8,103
2000 Percentage = 40.95%
2010 Population = 8,366
2010 Percentage = 40.01%
2014-15 Coat Share = $189,052.00
Actual % Based on14-15 Share of Budget = 40.28%
2014-15 Cost if 2010 Census was used = $187,775.84
Difference = overfunded by $1,276.16
2000 Population = 6,072
2000 Percentage = 30.68%
2010 Population = 6,736
2010 Percentage = 32.21%
2014-15 Coat Share = $139,162.00
Actual % Based on14-15 Share of Budget = 29.65%
2014-15 Cost if 2010 Census was used = $151,168.70
Difference = underfunded by $12,006.70
2000 Population = 5,613
2000 Percentage = 28.37%
2010 Population = 5,809
2010 Percentage = 27.78%
2014-15 Coat Share = $141,108.26
Actual % Based on14-15 Share of Budget = 30.07%
2014-15 Cost if 2010 Census was used = $130,377.72
Difference = overfunded by $10,730.54
The Sweden Town Council violated the NYS 1.56% tax cap this year and raised taxes by 5.07%. They didn’t have to do that. Instead of throwing money away by overfunding the library by $10,730.54 Sweden should have joined Brockport in pressuring Clarkson into recalculating and adjusting their equitable share.
A Library District must adhere to the tax cap. So that’s one of the reasons why creating a library district is in the best interest of Sweden residents. They will pay their equitable share of the library costs instead of over paying by $10,730.54.