CITY LIBRARY: Budget hike another slap

Formerly the Dunkirk Free Library, the most recent financial documents available through the Internal Revenue Service 990s show tremendous stress for the organization. In 2014, the library ran a deficit of $45,866.

It became worse the next year. In 2015, the library’s operating deficit hit $83,870.

Mounting financial issues led the board of directors to propose that the library become a taxing entity. Approved by voters in 2015 in the city school district in a fairly close tally, the first budget for 2016-17 Dunkirk Public Library increased spending from $194,130 to $350,000 — an 80 percent increase.

Talk about a gift.

Not surprisingly, however, the library is already doing what just about every government does best. It is continuing to increase spending in its next budget despite serving a declining population. That hike is not to the tune of a 55 percent, but it is an increase nonetheless.

“Largely, it is helping us with the minimum wage increase,” library director Janice Dekoff said of the $8,000 increase, which is up for vote Tuesday from noon to 8 p.m. in the library. “There’s a few other things, but that’s the biggest.”

After an 80 percent rise in spending, you would think any hike is something the entity could absorb. Dunkirk voters were very generous in allowing the library to tax. Remember, Chautauqua County already has one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. This did not help matters.

Jamestown’s library was not as fortunate. Voters rejected its taxing plans.

Maybe those residents understood better than we did locally. Give them an inch, it won’t be long until they attempt to take a mile.