NYLA Urges Assembly to Pass Library Bonding Bill

Would Give Dormitory Authority Ability to Help Small Libraries in Need

ALBANY, NY (06/17/2008)(readMedia)-- The New York Library Association (NYLA) today called on the New York State Assembly to join the State Senate in passing a bill (S.1684 Farley/A.6256 Eddington) that would allow library bonding projects of less than $5 million to be bundled together and submitted to the New York State Dormitory Authority for financing.

"By bundling smaller library construction projects through the State Dormitory Authority, our communities can build or expand much-needed library facilities, the State can help encourage inter-municipal cooperation and increase efficiency, and the taxpayers can save considerably through better tax-exempt bond rates," said Michael J. Borges, NYLA Executive Director. "That combination is hard to beat, especially during these difficult economic times, when library usage is up and funding is down. "

Libraries and their tax payers would save money on the lower interest rates available through the Dormitory Authority as well as share the costs of the underwriting fees.The Dormitory Authority discourages applications for bond financing of less than $5 million because they are not economical for the libraries due to the underwriting fees associated with bond financing, which can amount to several hundred thousand dollars.

The Senate has already passed the bill and the Dormitory Authority supports the bundling proposal. Similar bundling legislation was approved for the New York State Rehabilitation Association in the late 1990's. "The Senate has passed my bill four years in a row, because we believe that this legislation will save libraries and their taxpayers money on financing construction projects. We call upon the Assembly to follow suit and finally act on this common sense legislation", stated Senator Hugh Farley, Chair of the Libraries SubCommittee.

David Brown, the Executive Director of the Dormitory Authority issued a letter in support stating "The Dormitory Authority is supportive of structuring a pooled financing program for libraries in New York State. Authorizing the Dormitory Authority to undertake financings on behalf of libraries on a pooled basis is consistent with the Authority's mission."

"Our library could potentially benefit from this legislation. Although we have already been added to the list of eligible entities for Dormitory Authority funding, our project will be less than $4 million and is not large enough to benefit readily from Dormitory Authority bonding because of the underwriting costs--unless our project was bundled with others", said Susan Rudnicky, Director of the Swan Library in Albion, Orleans County.

A recent survey by the New York State Library estimated that the library community has approximately $2 billion in construction needs with many of these projects falling below the $5 million threshold. "The Assembly Libraries and Education Technology Committee reported this bill out last week and I am hopeful that it will be considered by the full Assembly before the end of the Legislative session", concluded Assemblymember Amy Paulin, Chair of the Libraries and Education Technology Committee.