Troy overpays library more than $300,000

Posted at: 02/10/2014 6:23 PM
Updated at: 02/10/2014 6:55 PM
By: Kumi Tucker

Photo: WNYT

TROY - The Troy Public Library director confirmed that the library got an overpayment of $300,000 from the city of Troy over the course of last year.

That may seem to be good news for any library, but Director Paul Hicok says they have some questions. They sent a letter to the mayor last week.

"We've asked the city how that sort of thing would happen," he said. "We don't know because libraries don't really levy taxes and collect taxes, that's something that the city does for us. So we're wondering ourselves what happened, at this point."

The Troy Library District was created after a vote in 2009.

The library budget is approved every year by voters in September.

Hicok says that while they got a surplus last year, in years past they got shorted a total of $176,000 over three years for 2010, 2011, and 2012, and that in those years they had to operate with less money.

As for the possibility of keeping this overpayment, Hicok said, "All libraries in New York could make good use of extra money. But again, as a district library, we have to be aware of the fact that we're a tax-supported institution and the voters approve our levy."

In response to our questions, the city spokesperson sent out a statement attributable to Corporation Counsel Ian Silverman: "This was a clerical error on behalf of the City. We erroneously included a tax item in the monthly collection report that was not part of the library tax lein. We paid $356,513 in excess of what we actually collected on behalf of the Library district ... It is our contention, however, that we are not legally obligated to make them whole. In light of the overpayment, the City will be crediting itself in the amount of $356,513 against what we will pay the library district in 2014."