Halfmoon Township board talks library costs

At the Board of Supervisors meeting on Thursday, resident Chris Goedtel expressed concern about several items in the proposed 2017 budget.

Two line items in particular — the amount Halfmoon Township pays to Schlow Centre Region Library and the amount it pays to the Centre Region Council of Governments — he said the township needs to address.

Goedtel said the township doesn’t need the library, at least to the extent it’s paying for it.

According to the township, it paid $39,918 in library operating costs in 2016. In 2017, that number is planned to rise to $47,215 — an increase of 18.28 percent.

Between the townships — College, Ferguson, Halfmoon, Harris and Patton — and the State College borough, Halfmoon in 2017 is slated to pay 3.32 percent of the library’s total operating budget, according to the township.

But, that’s 12.54 percent increase from 2016, according to the township.

Mark Stevenson, board chairman, said the amount a township pays is based on the number of checkouts at the library by people who live in the township.

Stevenson said the board agrees that there’s something “squirrelly” about the formula.

Supervisor Andrew Merritt said he’s proud of the fact that Halfmoon Township has so many readers.

To him, that library is the center of the community, he said.

But, he said he agrees that it’s a big jump in amount from 2016 to 2017.

Stevenson suggested forming a task force with representatives from the board, a COG representative and a library representative to dig deeper into the formula.

He said he wants to crack this open — not to be “adversarial” but to delve deeper into understanding how the township is charged.

Todd Kirsten, board vice chairman, said he wanted to thank Goedtel for spending the time to go over the budget.

He said he respects that effort, adding that he wants to hear the opinions of the people he represents.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz