Lycoming County officials to consider whether library system should receive extra funding

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — People are asking Lycoming County Commissioners to increase the budget for their public library system but some commissioners are saying not so fast.

Several topics were addressed during that public meeting, but a concern was about increasing the public library’s funding by $63,000. Something residents are asking the commissioners to strongly consider.

The executive plaza was filled with residents for the Lycoming County Commissioner’s weekly public meeting. The agenda included possibly increasing the nearly $1.3 million budget by $63,000 for the six libraries throughout the county. Residents say expanding these resources are necessary.

“I use the library through programs at UPMC for breastfeeding literacy. My children’s eyes have been checked there. There’s so much that it takes the burden off of other services by doing that,” said Sere Altebrando who is a resident of Montoursville.

That additional $63,000 would come directly from taxpayers. Commissioner Tony Mussare explains that increasing the libraries’ budget could alter state funding.

“When it comes to the library we understand that they’d like an increase, a small increase each year. We get that. But if we were to take away some of that funding in the following year if something happened then the state could look at that negatively and say fund them even less,” said Commissioner Mussare.

However, residents say their libraries are vital and need more investment.

“Keep in mind there are six libraries in this system, that’s a little over $10,000 each. Just for the cost of inflation, the cost of gasoline, the cost of the supplies they have to purchase. That is nothing,” said Amanda Waldman who lives in Lycoming County.

Lauren Baumann Frisco recalls her first time at the library and says aside from the resources, it’s a place that brings people together.

“One of the main reasons why my family has stayed and still lives in Lycoming County is because of the friendships that I made at our library. Libraries are about creating and maintaining community,” said Baumann Frisco.

Commissioner Scott Metzger suggests maybe creating projects for the libraries, such as renovations, instead of increasing the overall budget.

“If they come to us with projects like other outside agencies do, it’s easier to put the money toward those than it would be just to put it on a base amount that’s given to them yearly that compounds every year,” said Commissioner Metzger.

The county’s budget is due next month but the commissioners are hoping to have a decision by the next public meeting on the 30.

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