February 12, 2009
Re: A-3753 Municipal Library Funding Flexibility
On Monday in Trenton, Assemblyman Vincent Prieto introduced A-3753. This bill would advance a League priority issue and implement the provision of one of our Annual resolutions, adopted at our Conference this past November.
Specifically, this bill would reduce the amount that a municipality is required to appropriate and raise by taxation for a free public library. Current law requires municipalities with a free public library to raise and appropriate one-third of a mill per each dollar of assessed property value for the library. The level of appropriations for municipalities with a joint library is the same amount under current law. In both cases, this amount would be adjusted to one-sixth of a mill on each dollar of assessed property value.
R.S.40:54-8 was first enacted in 1937, and has not been amended since 1985. Similarly, N.J.S.A. 40:54-29.4, although enacted later, has not been amended since 1988. The equalized value of property throughout the State has risen substantially in recent years. Because these statutes have not been amended to change the proportional obligation of each municipality to fund its public library, many municipalities are collecting monies in excess of the needs of their public library systems.
We thank Assemblyman Prieto for his attention to this issue in these trying times. Please urge your Assembly representatives to support A-3753, which has been referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.