Westchester County public library in danger of closing due to $1.4M in missing money

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Thursday, April 13, 2023
Public library in danger of closing due to $1.4M in missing money
The Mamaroneck Public Library is trying to fill a $1.4 million shortfall after recently discovering they were missing the money.

MAMARONECK, New York (WABC) -- A public library in Westchester County desperately needs to raise more than a million dollars if they want to stay open after recently learning they were missing the funds.

"We're devastated, absolutely devastated," said Mamaroneck Library Board President Ellen Freeman. "Here we are celebrating our centennial year."

But after 100 years, the Mamaroneck Public Library is within a few weeks of potentially shutting its doors.

The library is trying to fill a $1.4 million shortfall which would leave it unable to operate past June 1.

"Where are we going to go? We have to go to Larchmont, New Rochelle? It's not right," Mamaroneck resident John Zen said.

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"It is a tremendous convenience and I have access to it, I had no idea they were in financial straits," Mamaroneck resident Christopher Lendt said.

The library is funded through a small portion of residents' property taxes. It has an elected board and operates independently from the village government. But its former business manager is under investigation by police and the district attorney's office for financial improprieties dating back to 2010.

Meantime, the library is turning to the village board of trustees for help. Mamaroneck's deputy mayor says the solution isn't as simple as a bailout.

"If it were under our control I could guarantee you that, but I can guarantee you that we will do our best to help the library keep its doors open," Mamaroneck Deputy Mayor Lou Young said. "We don't want it to close, it's an essential service in this village."

The village can extend its taxing authority so that the library can borrow the money and address what its president insists is only a short-term problem.

"We expect to cut back, look at our budget and create a budget that we can live with after 2025, this is a two-year issue," Freeman said.

Before signing off on the borrowing plan the village wants a peak into the library's finances. The library says it is working with forensic auditors and is setting up a system of checks and balances to shore up its finances going forward.


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