The James Prendergast Library is an Association library funded by a mixture of public and private sources.
- Until 2017, the community tax dollars collected by the City of Jamestown provided approximately 30% of the library’s budget.
- In 2017 the City reduced the library’s share of those tax funds from $350,000 to $100,000 (Reduced from 31% of the library’s budget to 11%).
- In 2018, the City of Jamestown reduced the library’s share of tax funds to just $50,000 (6% of the library’s budget) That amount is only $.03 per thousand of assessed value of a home. For a $50,000 home, only $1.50 per year goes to the library. To see where your tax dollars go, please see the City of Jamestown’s Budget Summary page at http://www.jamestownny.net/departments/comptroller/annual-budget-summary/
- In the 2019 City of Jamestown budget the library’s share of tax dollars was left at $50,000
- The cuts to the library are visible when comparing property tax bills from 2016 and 2019 – Jamestown tax rates
- The library has an investment fund that until 2018 provided 30-35% of yearly funding. In 2019 it will provide 46% of the library’s budget
- Grants from local foundations provide 12%
- Being the central library of the Chautauqua Cattaraugus Library System, Prendergast receives about 9.5% of the budget from New York State for fulfilling that role. **Update** Central Library funding will be cut by 25% this year, and in 2020, state aid of $111,000 will be completely eliminated. This is a direct result of the City diverting local taxes into other funds than the library. Library law includes a Maintenance of Effort clause to ensure local community funding is not supplanted by State funding for the community’s library.
- The Chautauqua Cattaraugus Library System resides in the Prendergast Library building and they reimburse the library for their share in utilities, maintenance, etc., 4%
- Prendergast Library serves as the library for Jamestown Business College which provides funding around 1.7%
- Chautauqua County provides funding for all libraries in the county; for Prendergast it comprises 2% of the budget
- All other funds must be raised by gifts, donations, fees and fundraising (19%)
For a history of local community support (taxes assessed by the City of Jamestown for library support), see charts here. When the library’s share of taxes was reduced from $.23 per thousand of assessed property value to $.03 per thousand, residents did not see a decrease in their tax bills.
The Annual Appeal letter is an easy, but important way to help support the library. If you would like to be included in the list, please contact the library at (716) 484-7135 and we will add your name.
The James Prendergast Library Board of Trustees and staff sincerely appreciate all the support from the community. The library has served this area for 125 years and will continue to work hard to meet community needs. If you are interested in helping the library, please see our “Support” page for more information.