Monday, February 15, 2010

Phoenixville Public Library - Emergency operating funds?

I received the following information earlier today.




The mission of the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation is to improve the health and quality of life of people within the greater Phoenixville area. The Board of Directors of the Foundation met on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 for a business meeting and authorized two special grants totaling $35,000. The first was a special grant to Doctors Without Borders for $10,000 designated for the Haitian earthquake relief. This was a Level One grant creating direct access to health care.

The second grant was to the Phoenixville Public Library for emergency operating funds. This was a $25,000 grant, $15,000 of which is to be allocated immediately and $10,000 as $1/$1 match with new funds. This was a Level Three grant for civic, social and economic needs of the community.

Just several months ago the board of directors of the Phoenixville Public Library were actively pursuing a $6.5 million dollar expansion to the library building.

The library is now the recipient of a $25,000 grant for "emergency" operating funds.

Since the library is owned by the Phoenixville Area School District, the school board members, Phoenixville Borough Council, and the school district taxpayers should demand answers of the library board members as to why the library is in such dire straights as to need immediate and hefty emergency funding from PCHF a short time after the expansion project was dropped.

Explanations and accountability are due on this publicly funded institution.


Anonymous said...

When you ask pasd how much is spent on the library's maintenance that's funded by school tax dollars, Ron Miller – PASD Director of Operations publicly said, "we don't keep track."

Why would they cough up this info?

Anonymous said...

I think one of the explanations is that the State cut the funding for all libraries, forcing the closing of many and severe cutbacks for others. Luckily, Phoenixville library was only forced to close for 1 1/2 days and lay off only 2 employees that I know of. As far as the expansion money, I believe that was funded throught the foundation with money earmarked specifically for the expansion, not to be used for operating funds. I don't know what the legality of using that money for operations would be given that it was specified for expansion. If they were given legal authorization to use it for daily operations, that would certainly help.

Anonymous said...

Rich Kirkner is on the board of pchf. He's been pretty straight up about things. Can you call him and see whazup Karen?

Rebekah said...

The state library funding was cut 20% and the economy took a nosedive. Do you need any more reasons?

Anonymous said...

Oh for God's sake - will you leave the library alone? Don't you see what a loss it is to lose two days of operation a week? Then it will be three days, then it will only be open on weekends...but by then, no one will be able to read or spell anymore, so who cares???

Anonymous said...

I ken spelled fine

Anonymous said...

Yes, the state funding was cut, but there was a large increase provided by the school district. Enough to counterbalance the state cuts from what I heard. Where did that money go?

Anonymous said...

I don't think you heard correctly about the School District increase. As far as I'm aware, that increase was a pittance compared to what the library lost through govt. funding.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps someone from the school district could state how much more money, not percent increase, they gave to the library. The percent increase is small, but since the school district provides the majority of funding for the library, the amount of dollars is large.

Anonymous said...

This link shows the pasd total budget of $72 million with funding for the library at $477,000.

Couldn't find other link, but pretty sure pasd tax increase was 1.8% while the library got 3.5% more. Check with Josh G.

Anonymous said...

You say the School District provides the majority of funding for the library. Can you provide the dollar amount and percentage of the library funding that comes from the School District?

Karen said...

This blog has an search engine and anyone interested can research the articles on the library.

I seem to remember a figure of around close to $500,000 of funding from the PASD, and there may be an additional $100,000 for utilities. I don't remember if that figure was ever confirmed.

A projected short-fall of around $20-22,000 was expected from the cuts in the state budget.

Please keep in mind revenues such as the $500,000 gift from an anonymous donor and the $450,000 grant from the state was for expansion purposes only.

A Wine, Wit, and Wisdom fundraiser was held recently with $50,000 raised according to published articles.

I have no knowledge of the income from other fundraising activity.

I attended the budget meeting and can confirm Anonymous 12:26 p.m.'s assertion that the PASD board members granted an increase to the library over last year's amount.

Anonymous said...

Is it bad for PCHF to give money to the Library?? Usage is up more than ever and funding was slashed. I'm happy there is a library in this town I can use. I'm happy PCHF gave money to it so I can benefit from it. I'm happy PASD is giving money to something that benefits the community rather than more to its lawyers. The Library is something PASD can be proud of and I hope it continues to increase its funding to it. At least my tax dollars go to something I actually use.

Anonymous said...

To: February 18, 2010 11:51:00 AM EST....I'm sure the most significant majority of our community would agree with you. I should point out there was never any "anti Library" emotion or activity for that matter. The opposition was always and always will be aimed at that hair brained expansion idea, including building across Second Avenue. And we need tranparent accountablity of the tax payer money they do receive. You make it sound like there are Library haters out here. There are none that I've ever seen. There are those of us that hated that poor excuse of an expansion plan.

Anonymous said...

Why do you old timers hate progress? You hate the downtown bling. You hate the library. You hate the fact the new people are coming into town and you can win an election for dog catcher, yet alone council, you hate, hate, hate!

Why? The Library is something to be proud of not bash because YOU can't afford to pay your bills!

I'm done with you Phoenixville Republicans! Nothing but haters and crybabies who can win an election.

Here's to your boy Kenny "secret blogger" Buckwalter getting about 10% in the primary!

Anonymous said...

Libraries are great, but having a library that is funded by pasd dollars when the library doesn't account for where those public dollars go is not great.

Their utility bill is unlimited because us sucker taxpayers foot it and nobody questions it. 100k? 200k? Nobody knows.

On their 990 form, they group together all the salaries. Wish I earned 80k to work at a library. Easy to hide how overpaid they are by grouping all the salaries together.

Publicly funded yet accountable to nobody. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

To: February 18, 2010 3:41:00 PM EST....there's only one thing this old timer hates about anything and that's people like you who bring NOTHING to a debate or exchange except baseless accusations that you can't back up. If it wasn't for the old timers this town would have folded up and shut down when the old army hospital and then the steel mill closed. There weren't any newcomers to help or to make it happen. Only old timers. And they stepped up to the plate. The result? Look around. We worked both directly and indirectly to revitilize and renew our community. We served in public and private organizations, all for the betterment of our community. It is what it is because of the old timers who have invested a life time here. We're not some late comer to the party who doesn't have time to give anything back to a community except their own baseless vitriol. My guess is you've never once even picked up a piece of trash from the street so the town would look better. Ageeing to anything and everything proposed doesn't make you a good citizen. Challenging planners and organizations to be the best is what works to better any community. Preserving what we beleive to be a significant asset, our neighborhoods isn't a bad thing. It is in fact why the town is as desirable as it is. You should try it instead of the agreeing with everything ever proposed, lemming type, attitude. Surely you've had a better idea than another's idea regarding how to improve our town? Or are you just good at lashing out at those who disagree with you?

The Chicken Cacciatore Project said...

To Anon of Feb 18 at 3:50--

You need to read the Library's 990 correctly.

The salary and benefit expense was $643K for FY 08-09 (line 12 on the first page). The $83K amount is not a total of several people's pay; it is the pay of the Library's director Mr. Kelly. The rest of the people on the list are directors and are unpaid.

If you want the details of what the library spends and what PASD spends on the library's behalf, try making a Right to Know Law request for the specific information of your concern.

Once you get facts, then have a discussion.

Anonymous said...

To February 18, 2010 3:50:00 PM You say: "On their 990 form, they group together all the salaries. Wish I earned 80k to work at a library. Easy to hide how overpaid they are by grouping all the salaries together." If you look at the CCLS website, when they have openings for librarians, the starting salary is around 30-40k and they require a master's degree. I don't think that is overpaying staff considering a lot of people without a degree make that much money.

Anonymous said...

Chicken Catch. I'm glad you clarified the salaries there. I had read somewhere about them listing them all in one sum and assumed wrongly.

But about the Right to Know. I heard Ron Miller, pasd director of Ops say on TV they don't keep track of how much pasd money goes towards the library's utilities.

My friend is a maintenance contractor for the library and he gets paid from pasd. Does the library have any idea how much is spent on utilities and maintenance?

So with these thoughts in mind, why waste my time with a RTK letter when they don't have the answers? The library gets unlimited funding for their maintenance and utilities.

Again, they're publicly funded and accountable to nobody.

I really wouldn't care except when I hear the middle school has no after-school buses for sports or activities. What other programs are denied to support their library?

Anonymous said...

$80,000+ in salary (remember that the 990 forms are a few years old) plus very generous benefits for a small town librarian is too much by almost half.

Anonymous said...

The library budget is posted on the wall at the library. I really don't think they are trying to hide anything, and they do pay their own utilities. That leaves PASD with some maintenance issues but not utility bills. Its clear there has not been a lot done to that building recently. It could stand some renovations.

Weneedachange said...

Funny how Anonymous 2/18 3:41 blames everything on the Republicans.

Ken Buckwalter was just recommended on Sat. for a position on the ballot for State Rep. Its about time someone other than Tredyffrin Twp officials start making headway to Harrisburg.

What is wrong with local elected officials bringing back YOUR TAX DOLLARS to your community.Nothing.
That is how revitalizations starts.

There are many communities out there who wish they were in Phoenixvilles shoes.

As far as anonymous bashing the Republicans go take a hike.Thats all you and your Left Wing Socialist Party did for the last 8 years to Bush and CO.

Now your President takes a little heat and you people don't like it.

Where are the promised jobs? Why all the bonuses to bailed out corporations? Gov't. takeover of healthcare and Salliemay loans.

From HOPE to NOPE to DOPE. That should be your motto.

Ask fast Eddie Rendell when property taxes are going to go down. Wheres all the relief from gambling? Whatever happened to the Homestead Act for property relief? He repealed the helmet law for motorcycles and wants to have your pet in a seatbelt when in your car.
What a moron.

D should stand for Dumb-o-crats.

As far as the Library is concerned no one was ever against responsible expansion just the closing of Second Ave. Had this taken place where would all of this snow been pushed to. Reeves Park thats where.It would have been there till May when the Dogwood Festival started.

Not only is the Director making $80,000 + a year , he's doing it at reduced hours.

You people better wake up this country is going to hell in a handbasket faster in one year than you could blame Bush for in 8 years.

All this pontificating and I'm an Independant.

Good luck Ken and bring it on home.

Karen said...

I must have missed it! :(

Thanks for the prompt!

Anonymous said...

Actually, if you would have taken notice, the snow wasn't plowed anywhere on 2nd Ave. a week after the snowstorm, they finally decided to close off the street and bring heavy machines in to take it away. And it doesn't matter what politician is in office. They are all liars and thieves. Show me one honest politician and I will pull a rabbit out my you know what.

Anonymous said...

Now there's a thought weneedachange. The library employees are working less and receiving the same pay? They should take a paycut and apply those funds where needed.

There is no oversite.

If I was them, I'd wish for 6 days closed so I could earn my 80k while working one day. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

Ken Buckwalter is honest. So is Jim Gerlach. How about Carole Rubley.

Hope that rabbit feels good coming out of your you know what.

Anonymous said...

I would prefer to see Reeves park buried in snow than getting trashed by the Dogwood Festival. The dogwood festival has nothing but a negative impact on the integrity of the park and has become a really trashy event.

Anonymous said...

You say that Ken doesn't lie, but on his site he states: "Probably one of the most satisfying aspects of being a Borough Councilman, and what I see if elected as a State Representative, is being in a position to effectively help people and our Community." Does he believe it helps his community to bring an expensive lawsuit against it, or is he just lying. In either case, it is idiotic to think that forcing "our community" to pony up $ for a lawsuit actually helps it, or he does in fact lie. Your choice.

Anonymous said...

To: February 25, 2010 9:38:00 AM EST.....oh, get over it already. Your side/position lost by doing something illegal. I would hope a citizen somehow, somewhere sues every political entity when they try to do something illegal. Obey the laws and they'll be no law suits of a similar nature. Poor losers will most likely never learn the intended lesson.

Anonymous said...

I'm not advocating any side/position. Just trying to point out the fact that all politicians lie and Ken is no exception. I'm not saying he is wrong for doing what he did at all.

Weneedachange said...

The mere fact that the 7 Democratic council members that voted for the no-pay to save on an increase in taxes is tantamount to the favoritism that went on during that time. To vote in as Boro Manager a buddy who was the least qualified is the type of politics that all goverment should be rid of.

OH yeah, how did that ZERO BUDGET that the manager tried to implement work out ?

He followed his buddy Ed Rendell and took out the 3% cpi increase in the budget and that is why the Boro had to raise water / sewer rate 27 % last year.

So that means your taxes really went up two fold. You just don't here about the things that are buried unless you follow the whole budet process.

Besides , the Boro was reimbursed for the lawsuit thru insurance.

Ask Ken how much of his own money he spent to do the right thing.I would rather have a politician do the right thing from my hometown than the all the us vs. them mentality that goes on now.

Anonymous said...

This is getting off topic.

Did anyone see the school board meeting on tv? The library asked for the maximum budget increase of 2.9% from the school board.

With all that's going on, couldn't they have shown some brains and asked for 2.8% or less? Just to humor us?

Cut back the salaries according to the decrease in hours that the library is open and there's less expenses and therefore no increase in funding needed. Come on Josh.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to push a pig away from the (public) trough while it's still feeding.

Anonymous said...

I think the best solution is for eveyone to write and call all the state government officials to tell them how important it is that the library funding not be cut. This way they wouldn't need to go to the school district and ask for more taxpayer money to operate. Although one thing that no one seems to understand is that non profit organizations rely on govt./taxpayer money to operate. It's not just a library thing.

Weneedachange said...

Anyone see the article in the paper over the weekend about PCHF giving the library $25,000 grant for emergency funds and a $10,000 option if they can match it thru a donor.

I am not anti library but don't these people see what this economy is like or do they just bury their head in the sand.

Why not cut back on salaries for maybe one year and take a second look at the situation.

This is why operating cost should be made public but this school board just doesn't want to press the issue.

Anonymous said...

The Library asks the School District for more money every year, whether the State cuts their budget or not. How about learning to live within your means like everyone else has to. Or if they are so desparate for money, they should increase their user fees and stop making those that don't use the Library, continue to pay more and more towards it.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know when the last time was that the state increased the library funding. With costs for the library increasing every year, they need to offset those costs somehow. That could be why they ask for an increase from the school. As for cutting back their salaries, why don't we also ask the teachers to cut back theirs. They seem to make an awful lot of money for only working 9 months. And every year they get raises. Maybe they could at least do away with raises until the economy turns.

Anonymous said...

The teacher's union is a bunch of Obama bootlickers. They will never say no to whatever gets handed to them.

Can't say I blame them. Greed is greed.

I think people really get mad when they lose their houses to support a teacher's union that has Obama in their back pocket.