Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations
Meeting Minutes of December 5, 2001
Albany Public Library
Presently, the Albany Public Library is a municipal library. As such, it is governed by an appointed board of trustees, and its funding comes primarily from the City of Albany’s budget. Funding has remained flat for the last ten years, and, therefore, it cannot fund enhanced services, new technology and a more highly trained workforce.
The library is proposing that it be re-chartered as a not-for-profit, public district library. The New York State Board of Regents has found that the libraries with such a public charter operate democratically and are better able to provide increased services and are more beneficial to the population they serve. In order to re-charter, three items must pass the voters next May; (1) the proposal to re-charter as a public district library; (2) the slate and terms of the unpaid, board of trustees; (3) the budget. If all three of these items pass, the Albany Public Library would become a public district library in the year 2003.
With such a charter, voters would approve or disapprove the library’s budget and select the board of trustees at the time they vote on the City’s school budget. The library’s budget shall appear as a line item; therefore, it can be approved or disapproved independently of the school budget. Once the initial budget is passed, it would only appear in years that the library is seeking an increase of funding. The board of trustees would be elected officials.
CANA members expressed concerns and made comments about the proposed re-chartering which included (a) the timing of this proposal with concerns presently high about the proposed facilities improvement plan; (b) the low voter participation in the school budget; (c) the ability of the voters to control the library’s budget; (d) the inability of the City to exercise political power over the library and its funding; (d) whether there would be a cap on the library’s budget.
It was suggested that a written, detailed outline of the proposed re-chartering be distributed to CANA members for further consideration. Mr. Cannell agreed to provide this information at the next meeting.
Having met, the CANA Schools Committee proposed the following resolution be acted upon:
"RESOLVED: CANA supports the proposed $175,000,000 Albany City School District Facilities Plan bond issue. CANA urges a "yes" vote on December 11, 2001, on the School Facilities Bond referendum."
After several neighborhood association representatives made statements, issues were clarified, and questions were answered, a roll call vote of the member associations was taken. As outlined in the CANA by-laws, each member association is entitled to three votes. There were no abstentions. By two-thirds majority, the motion to pass the resolution was passed with associations voting as follows.