A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Middletown Library Clearly Owes Its Town; MAPL, Less So

Middletown Township is bristling over having to pay more than half a million dollars in debt service annually on the buildings it owns that house the town's library, per APP, while the library collects an annual stipend based on a percentage of property taxes and develops a healthy surplus. Faced with a huge budget crisis that threatens to force two dozen municipal layoffs, including the loss of ten police officers, the Township Council has asked the library to fund the buildings' debt service or face the prospect of cost savings through the library becoming a county branch.

It seems to me that Middletown Township has a legitimate claim on that half a million dollars. Matawan and Aberdeen, on the other hand, hold no such righteous claim to the monies they've been pocketing from our library in recent years. I'd given up speaking out against the annual money grab as choreographed by local officials sitting on the library board. This past year has been a masterful exercise in perception management, leaving our new librarian in the odd position of scrimping and saving on library expenses in order to preserve a budget surplus that ironically must revert to the local municipalities at year's end.  A complex budget exercise by the board last fall established a new routine of guaranteeing a surplus to municipal coffers each year.

On the occasion of this situation in Middletown, I thought I'd bring this up one last time. I've stopped attending board meetings because there's something just not right going on there. I admire the board's public service but the utter conflict of interest is really upsetting.


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