12-15-14 Rochelle Park Library Hearing Notes

12-15-14 Rochelle Park Library Hearing Notes

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Rochelle Park Public Library Board of Trustees Hearing

Monday, December 15, 2014 10:00 a.m.

BCCLS Office, 810 Main Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601

Presiding: BCCLS President Leonard LoPinto

Present:  David Franz, BCCLS Vice-President; Kurt Hadeler, 2014/2015 BCCLS Executive Board; Christine Hartigan, 2014/2015 BCCLS Executive Board; Robert W. White, BCCLS Executive Director; Pat Loughnane, BCCLS Executive Secretary

Participants: Nicole Williams, Rochelle Park Library Director; Barbara Trinkleback, Rochelle Park Library Treasurer; Kathie Baccala, Rochelle Park Library Secretary; Township Committeeman Michael Kazimir; Township Administrator Robert Davidson; Township Auditor Frank DiMaria;

Attending: Mary Diduch, The Record

Call to Order:  Mr. LoPinto called the meeting to order at 10:00 am.  He announced the reason for the hearing and referred to State Statute NJSA 40:54-8.  He asked Executive Board committee members, BCCLS staff, and the participants to introduce themselves.

Mr. LoPinto led the discussion by reporting on the action taken by the Executive Board and System Council on October 16, 2014 concerning the non-compliance of the Rochelle Park Public Library with BCCLS Bylaw Article 1, Section 3(a)(ii) Qualifications for Membership.

Committeeman Michael Kasimir, representing township residents, spoke about his personal history in Rochelle Park and pointed to the actions taken by the township in the last several years with regard to improving library services.  He quoted several statistics relevant to the library and stated that Rochelle Park Library wants to remain in BCCLS. 

Mr. DiMaria, the Township’s auditor, remarked that Rochelle Park wants to remain in BCCLS but the township is practicing budgetary constraint.  He commented that the budget process is different for association and municipal libraries and opined that if the township committee were to increase funding for the library, other departments’ funding could be impacted.  Mr. White responded to his questions about the county grant and funding for the statewide delivery system.

Discussion ensued about the library’s 2014 budget of $160,000, their proposed 2015 budget of $215,000 and the BCCLS Bylaws which mandates that Rochelle Park Library be funded at $318,000 – the library’s 1/3rd of mill figure for 2015.  Although it is an Association Library, Mr. LoPinto remarked that it is important for Rochelle Park’s library to come into compliance with the organization’s Bylaws because the other 74 members are funded at the proper levels – in fact more than 20 are funded in excess of the required 1/3rd of a mill.  Mr. White advised that the Bylaw mandating the 1/3rd of a mill funding mechanism governing every BCCLS library has been in effect since 1991.  It was noted that Rochelle Park has failed to increase funding for their library 15% per year even though the annual Bylaws Certification stating the library is in compliance with the Bylaws has been signed each year by the Director and Board President.  Mr. Franz pointed out that the other two Association libraries – Norwood and Old Tappan – are fully funded at 1/3rd of a mill and that Northvale, a former Association library, voted to municipalize and will rejoin BCCLS. 

Mr. LoPinto stated that the township can fund the library any way they want but the BCCLS Executive Board is charged with enforcing the Bylaws so that all members are in compliance.  He informed the Township representatives that Rochelle Park has 30 days to present a plan to conform to the Bylaws.  The Executive Board committee will then review the plan and make a recommendation to the BCCLS Executive Board.  Further discussion took place about the 2% cap law, square footage costs vis a vis the library’s tenancy in the municipal complex, filing of the per capita state aid reports, and the county per capita average.   

At this point, Mr. LoPinto reiterated the timeline – Rochelle Park must present their plan to conform to the Bylaws by January 15, 2015.  The Executive Board will review and either accept the plan or make a recommendation to the System Council of either a reduction in privileges or termination.  Both David Franz and Kurt Hadeler added that the plan must be in writing and meet the 1/3rd of a mill funding mandate as required by the BCCLS Bylaw for the organization to accept the plan. 

Public Portion: None 

Adjournment:  10:50 a.m.