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State mandate prevents library funding increases

August 22, 2013

The Hopkinton Town Council wants to provide additional funding to the Langworthy (above) and Ashaway libraries, but a state requirement prevents it.

HOPKINTON― Even though the town council would like to give more money to the town's two libraries, the state-mandated “maintenance of effort” makes increases fiscally risky. If the town were to add to its library funding, it would be required to maintain that level in future years regardless of unpredictable budgetary shifts.

“The 'maintenance of effort' says you cannot give any less than you gave the prior year. Once you give, you cannot take away. It's a permanent increase,” said Council President Frank Landolfi at Monday night's council meeting.

Annually, Hopkinton gives Ashaway Library and Langworthy Library $60,000 each whereas the state contributes $27,017, which is divided equally between the two libraries, according to Ashaway Library Director Heather Field who spoke at Monday night's council meeting along with Langworthy Library Director Deby Nunes and Langworthy Library President Michelle Walker.

Councilor Barbara Capalbo said that the state's percentage of the libraries' budgets wasn't high enough to regulate what the towns could or could not contribute yearly.

“The state is determining our municipal grants, not our municipal services, but our grants that we give of our volition. The problem here is that the state doesn't give enough money. We have the money but they make the rules,” she said.

“They're tying our hands and they don't give enough money to tie our hands. We should be able to give (the libraries) money as we so choose without us worrying whether we can go up or down. It's infuriating,” she said.

For the full story, pick up today's Chariho Times.

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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