Member towns will pay the same levy they paid last year

FREEHOLD, NJ – There will be no tax increase for the Monmouth County Library System this year, following a review by county administration and finance.

County Administrator Teri O’Connor and Finance Director Craig R. Marshall met with Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry and several library commissioners on Friday to work on the library system’s proposed spending plan. The Board of Chosen Freeholders delayed action on the library’s 2010 budget recently and directed senior staff to address questions that have been raised.

“The Monmouth County Library System is the largest and best lending library in New Jersey,” Burry said. “When directed to look at the budget more closely, Mr. Marshall brought to my attention the fact that there is a better way to craft a budget than had been the library’s practice the past several years. As a result, I am pleased to report that a re-examination of the library system’s budget will result in a zero tax increase without impacting programs and services or taxpayers in the member towns.”

The Monmouth County Library System is a semi-autonomous agency operated by a seven-member Library Commission appointed by the Board of Chosen Freeholders. The Library System crafts its own budget and imposes its own tax on member towns. Because the freeholders appoint Library Commission members, the freeholders must approve the library’s tax levy.

The Freeholder Board is expected to approve the new $16 million library budget on Thursday with a revised tax levy of $12,150,000, which is the same tax levy member towns paid last year.

The county library headquarters is located in Manalapan. Libraries with branch status in the county system currently include the Eastern Branch in Shrewsbury, Allentown, Colts Neck, Hazlet, Holmdel, Howell, Marlboro, Ocean Township, Oceanport and Wall.

Towns with member status of the county library system include Atlantic Highlands, Brielle, Eatontown, Fair Haven, Interlaken, Keansburg, Little Silver, Manasquan, Monmouth Beach, Neptune City, Oceanic (Rumson), Sea Bright, Sea Girt, Tinton Falls, Union Beach and West Long Branch.

Residents of towns that are not members or branches of the county library system who would like to have borrowing privileges at county libraries may purchase a county library card annually at a cost of $100.