Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hempfield Restores Some Funding for Library Amount Less Than Half of What Library Received Last Year

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hempfield Restores Some Funding for Library Amount Less Than Half of What Library Received Last Year

Article excerpt

Greensburg Hempfield Area Library officials are looking for ways to offset a loss in funding this year, even though Hempfield supervisors agreed this week to partially restore the township's share of financial support.

At a packed meeting Monday, Hempfield supervisors voted 3-1 to give the library just under $14,000, reversing an unexpected decision late last year to stop giving any money to the library. But that amount is less than half of what the library received from the township last year.

And it appears unlikely that the township will remain a financial backer in the future.

"I would ask that the library not count on funding from the township's general fund in the future," said Doug Weimer, chairman of the supervisors, who voted in favor of funding the library this year.

He recommended that the library petition to hold a referendum next year to receive funding from taxes. Raising taxes this year is not an option.

The extent to which the decrease will affect the library's annual operating budget of about $600,000 is unclear.

The library currently receives funding from seven sources - the state, Hempfield, Greensburg, South and Southwest Greensburg, Youngwood and the Hempfield Area School District. It stopped receiving money from the Greensburg Salem School District three years ago, and funding cuts by the state several years ago forced it to close on Fridays.

"I don't know what we'll do," Diane Ciabattoni, assistant to the library director, said after the Monday meeting. She was among others at the two-hour meeting who urged supervisors to restore funding.

While some supporters suggested that the library increase its fundraising efforts, Ms. Ciabattoni said, "We can only get so much . ."

Others suggested that Hempfield residents could turn to other public libraries in the region should the library cut its resources or services.

In December, supervisors unanimously passed a 2015 budget that did not include funding for the library for the first time in 25 years. The cut was among others in its discretionary spending, with supervisors citing costs for snow removal and road maintenance.

"We have to be selective," Supervisor John Silvis, who voted in favor of funding the library, said in an interview. …

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