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Proposed Cuts Leave Mount Vernon Library's Fate Unclear

Residents are concerned that budget cuts could force the Mount Vernon Public Library to close next year.
Residents are concerned that budget cuts could force the Mount Vernon Public Library to close next year. Photo Credit: Greg Maker

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. — Residents are outraged that the proposed city budget would slash $250,000 from the Mount Vernon Public Library and might force it to shut its doors.

Library representatives said that if the money is cut, the library may not be able to run as is, forcing it to close. Also compounding the problem is that two library directors quit this year, leaving the position currently vacant.

Mayor Ernie Davis’s proposed 2013 budget would raise the tax levy for property owners in the city by approximately 6.7 percent. The original tax levy hike when the budget was released was 9.8 percent, but that number was whittled down after opposition from residents. A second public hearing on the revised budget will take place at 7 p.m. Friday at City Hall.

Resident Sharon Patterson Lockett said it would be a “disgrace” to close the library, adding that it used to draw people from New York City up to Mount Vernon. It has been terrible that some areas of the library have not been kept up, she added.

Resident Meleita Jones said she would be sad if the library were to close, adding that it offers great services for her and her children.

“Just the fact right now that it is closed on weekends makes us go to other libraries,” Jones said. “My children need it for education and I need it for leisure reading.”

Davis is hoping the library will become an independent entity, adding that he has met with school district representatives about this issue. Davis said he is trying to get the school district to help so the library doesn’t “drain” the municipal budget.

Councilman Richard Thomas suggested transferring responsibility from the city to the school district.

“We have libraries in the schools that are not utilized,” Thomas said. “We’re paying the library not to serve our community. The management of it needs a real overhaul.”

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