LACKAWAXEN, PA — The township supervisors on November 15 approved a letter to the Pike County Commissioners asking “proportionate allocations” of library funds to the Wayne County libraries in Hawley and Newfoundland, which are heavily patronized by western Pike residents.
The supervisors’ letter said “the loss of state funding” and “inadequate funding” from Wayne County has endangered jobs and services at the libraries that their residents have been required to use since the closing of the Lackawaxen branch of the Pike County Public Library (PCLP).
Reporting substantial use of their facilities by Pike County residents, Wayne County library officials have twice appeared before the Pike County Commissioners this fall seeking additional funding.
The Wayne libraries have also reported a $47,000 budget deficit to the Wayne Commissioners.
Neither panel of commissioners has yet to respond to Wayne libraries’ financial concerns, but publication of 2014 budgets are coming at the end of this month.
Lackawaxen’s letter stated that about 30% of the county’s residents live in the four western townships.
They stated that some 23% of county residents are served by the Hawley library and that, in the past three years, 46% of the active Hawley Library users are from Pike. While the numbers are smaller, the Newfoundland library was said to have a majority of Pike residents among its active users.
“On behalf of our township citizens, we urge you to properly allocate library funding to serve our community… Please do not neglect any longer the funding of the Hawley Public Library that serves our township.”
Supervisors Chair Brian Stuart said that the $2,000 Pike currently appropriates to Hawley doesn’t go very far. “The county has alienated everyone north of Route 84,” he said of the county appropriation.
In September, PCLP Executive Director Ellen Schaffner and Trustee Elspeth Goodin were on hand during the Hawley presentation. They did not agree.
Schaffner later said “those who choose not to [use the Hawley Library] should not have to pay for the choices of those who did.”
She said all libraries are facing decreased funding. “We’re down $100,000 in state and local cuts.”
Goodin said that diversion of Pike funds to other counties would at the same time reduce Pike’s Local Financial Effort (LFE), which would reduce state aid accordingly. “If LFE falls below a certain amount, the library could receive no state funding at all.”
The supervisors approved a proposed 2014 budget which calls for $3,200,621 in spending, but will retain existing millage (tax rates).
The budget includes $2,229,803 in general fund spending, of which $1,009,281 funds public safety and $133,000 goes to highways.
The budget will be finalized in December.
In other business, the supervisors adopted their Ordinance 101, which allows adoption of a new franchise agreement with Blue Ridge Communications.
They also approved a motion that the Woodloch Springs Welcome Center and Market, which is to open in the spring, is qualified for the township’s five-year pro-rated tax abatement program.
They further approved contract for Allen Kowalczyk’s selected timber removal on the 139-acre township building property, accepted Jim Jennings’ resignation from the zoning hearing board and approved a two-lot consolidation at Blue Herron Woods for Christopher Kilmer.