Library on rocky financial footing

The financial footing for Rachel Kohl Library isn't on solid ground. Library Director Susan Sternberg told Chadds Ford Township supervisors last night that the library almost closed last month because money is short.

"We need money to stay open, not grow, just to stay open," Sternberg said. "The only way to stay open is for stronger municipal support."

Sternberg was making the library's annual plea to the municipality during the board's October work session.

Rachel Kohl Library serves five Delaware County municipalities and also serves Chester County residents. However, it only gets contributions from the Delco townships.

Those donations total $289,158. Of that, Chadds Ford Township donates $8,000, the least amount from the five municipalities; that $8,000 breaks down to $2.14 per resident.

"That $2.14 won't even buy us a paperback book," she said.

Sternberg added that the state recommends townships contribute $5 per resident.

Sternberg was visibly frustrated, saying that while Chadds Ford contributes the least, it has the second highest median income — $165,971 — of the communities the library serves. By comparison, Chester Heights has the lowest median income — $98,842 — but contributes $12,655 per year. Chester Heights also has a smaller population — 2,573 residents versus Chadds Ford's 3,724.

She said people don't realize the library has expenses. One person, she said, was surprised to learn the library has bills from Verizon and PECO. Sternberg also said the library has a mortgage of more than $300,000, with a monthly payment of more than $3,000.

Supervisors Chairman Frank Murphy — whose wife is a former township representative on the library board — told Sternberg that he's looking for ways to support the library, and then explained the current system. He said $6,500 comes from property tax and the townships then adds $1,500 to bring the total to $8,000.

Other business

Supervisors will hold a resident forum regarding the Pettinaro project at Route 202 and Ridge Road in Concord Township at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15 in the Chadds Ford municipal building.

 

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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