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Towamensing supervisors lack quorum for meeting Officials will be informed on local library problems

Published October 05. 2009 02:55PM

In the absence of two supervisors, Towamensing Township could not hold a formal meeting on Oct. 1 for lack of a quorum.

Supervisor Rodney George was held up on the turnpike due to an accident while Gary Anthony was sick.

The meeting was delayed for one-half hour before a decision was made to cancel.

In the meantime, Roy Christman, representative to the Palmerton Area Library board of directors, asked if he could give a presentation about the library that supervisors could read later. He had the material printed for them and it could be discussed when the meeting was rescheduled.

He said the library is in a crisis situation, but since the word crisis is overused, he called it "a significant problem."

The new state budget is proposing to cut the library budgets across the state by one-third.

Library use has gone up from 28,212 people to 31,591 for the period of January to August in 2008 and in 2009. Computer use is up as people come in to use the computers to hunt for jobs. Towamensing residents make up 20 percent of the patrons.

Statewide libraries normally receive 59 percent of revenue from local government, 25 percent from the state and 14 percent from fundraising.

Palmerton receives 6 percent from fundraising, 25 percent library generated, two trusts the amount of which has dropped and 13 percent from local government. The local contribution is low compared to other libraries.

The library would like $1 per resident. Christman believed it received $1,000 to $1,500 from the township.

Secretary Pat Snyder checked the 2009 budget and found it is scheduled to receive $2,500 in 2009. The library would be unaware of this amount at this time because the money has not been distributed.

It was also mentioned during 2009 budget talks that it would attempt to raise the donation to $1 per person in the 2010 budget.

Christman said many things at the library can be done from a home computer. The library is valuable for school kids to help with their work.

Some township residents said they did not receive a letter from the library asking for donations if they had a Lehighton or Kunkletown address. Also, some of those who have Lehighton addresses received requests from the Lehighton library.

Christman said he would report that and attempts will be made to sort out the addresses according to which library provides coverage.

He said Palmerton, Lehighton and Jim Thorpe libraries share a computer system.

The state mandates the hours the library must be open or threatens to cut funding. Library workers earn minimum wage or only slightly above.

Glenn Beers warned that the Pleasant Valley School District included a 1 mill tax for the library on a referendum. Since it is attached to the school district. it can and has been raised without further resident input. He did not think that was the way to go.

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