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Bedford Board Talks Potential Library Budget Cuts

BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. -- The Bedford Town Board asked representatives from local libraries Tuesday to detail how they will attempt to keep their budgets stable.

According to Supervisor Lee Roberts, the libraries represent the fourth largest expense for the town budget. While the libraries were asked by the Town Board to come into the meeting with suggestions, John Talty, a trustee and treasurer of the Bedford Village Library, said that it would be easier for each library to get the numbers from the town council first and then make the necessary cuts across the board.

“To ask us ‘What can we do to cut’ is a double-edged sword, as opposed to the other way round,” said Talty. “If there is a cut, you are coming back with a number, and we’ll have to deal with what that is.”

Councilman Francis Corcoran agreed with the point.

“You really don't know until we tell you,” Corcoran agreed. “You don’t know what those different cuts could be without the numbers, and that’s fair.”

The library personnel did come in with a few suggestions for their individual budgets, with two possibilities taking center stage for different libraries. Already, the Katonah Village Library plans to close on Sundays of next year, regardless of a cut in budgets. The Bedford Hills Free Library representative spoke of the potential need, if there were a cut to the budget, to let a member of its staff go.

The suggestions will still take a back seat, though, until the board comes back with specific numbers for the libraries to consider. After ending the public discussion after 30 minutes, Roberts and her board went into executive session to work on those figures.

“Some places will be personnel changes, service changes, day of the week, whatever,” Talty said about the potential changes. “It’s easier for the other side to then just deal with what you have.”

The deadline for the tentative budget to be entered by the Town Clerk is Monday.

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