This past summer, the Tappan, Palisades and Orangeburg libraries, along with the Town of Orangetown, engaged Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress to do a forensic financial and organizational investigation of our three libraries. We were hoping they would be able to identify possible cost savings and/or service benefits for our communities by redistricting as a single district. The results of the study support the efforts to move forward as a single district with three branches. With the three library boards and the Town of Orangetown behind the effort, we have begun the process of redistricting. Please know the ultimate decision will rest with the voters of our new local combined district and be done with a well-publicized public referendum vote.
A link to the full study can be found here:
A link to Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress’s presentation to the Town Board on Dec, 3, 2019 can be found here:
Below you will find a few answers to some frequently asked questions. We will update the information as it becomes available and we progess with the process. The information below was updated on 12/23/2019.
Q: What are the libraries’ goals with unification?
A: The primary shared goals are as follows:
Goal 1: To achieve financial stability
- By allowing taxpayers to vote directly on the budget each year, the single library district will be better positioned to engage in long-term financial planning.
- A single library district will enable us to achieve economies of scale in purchasing equipment, materials and services.
- Consolidation will reduce redundancies in staffing and programming. However, the three libraries have agreed to retain all current staff members; there will be no layoffs due to unification.
Goal 2: To align our overall mission
- Increase volume and capacity to serve
- Reach more patrons with unified message
- Provide new services and programs
Goal 3: To better serve our community
- All residents within the new single district (Orangeburg, Palisades, Sparkill and Tappan) will have the same tax rate
- Voters within the new single district will be represented by publicly elected trustees
- If substantial capital projects which would require a bond are needed in the future, a public vote must be held for voter approval.
What major changes will take place?
- There will be a new single library district sharing a single budget supporting the three branches (Orangeburg, Palisades, and Tappan).
- Closing/repurposing buildings is not under consideration.
- The new library district will be governed by a publicly elected Board of Trustees and be administered by one executive director.
- The public will have the ability to directly vote on budgets, trustees, and capital construction projects.
Please note that access for Blauvelt and Piermont library patrons will remain unchanged and that patrons of the unified library will retain access to the Blauvelt and Piermont libraries, as well.
What is required for unification to proceed?
The process is anticipated to take up to 24 months. However, the timeline is dependent on many factors not within our control, as many State and local agencies will need to approve various steps in the creation of the new district. Ultimately, however, voters in the new district will vote whether to approve unification.
To form the new single district:
- The Town of Orangetown must support creating a special district.
- The New York State Assembly and Senate must introduce and approve legislation to authorize the election to create a new special district.
- The Governor must sign the approved legislation.
If those steps are all successful, then:
- The residents of the newly approved district must vote on a referendum to approve the creation of the district, elect Board of Trustees, and approve the initial budget.
- Only by a successful local referendum (simple majority vote) will the new Special District be formed.
What were the key results from Pattern for Progress’s efficiency study?
The study authors concluded that a unified district would reduce costs, improve services, and help stabilize finances and would confer the following key benefits:
- Greater financial stability and accountability through public budget votes
- Coordination of programming to reduce duplication and improve access
- Coordinated purchasing to reduce duplication and broaden collection
- Unified lending rules and shared lending of ebooks, online resources, and museum passes
- Reduced staff costs through attrition; layoffs are not under consideration
- Administrative efficiency – merge duplicative budget, payroll, accounting, and technology systems for consistency and efficiency
- Better pricing on supplies, contractual services and technology through consolidated purchasing
Pattern for Progress recommended that library trustees and the town board should begin the process of obtaining New York State authorization for a public vote to create a single district, elect trustees, and approve its budget.
To email questions to any of our Boards please use: