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Tax Relief Likely for Wyckoff Residents as Result of Returned Library Funds

Wyckoff Public Library is expected to return $776,141 to be paid out in four installments between September 2012 and June 2013, according to library and township officials.

Township residents are likely to get some tax relief over the next two years thanks to recent efforts by the and the to send unused funds from the library coffers back to the township.

The library is expected to return $776,141, which is expected to be paid out in four installments between September 2012 and June 2013, according to library and township officials. 

"This is a great resolution to this issue and very good news for the taxpayers in Wyckoff," said Mayor Chris DePhillips.

Library Director said the process is underway to hand over the nearly $800,000.

"Our intent and goal is to carefully follow the law and do whatever we can to ease the tax burden on the people of Wyckoff, who have given us so much support over the years," Witherell said.

Witherell stressed that there are additional "supporting financial documents" to prepare, before submitting "the whole package to the New Jersey State Librarian for review." 

That review process may take as long as 45 days, she added, and nothing is yet written in stone.

"This is absolutely, positively not a done deal," Witherell said.

Witherell doesn't expect the return of $776,141 to impact the day-to-day operations of the library, "more than half of it can be traced back to left-over funds from our library renovation account."

DePhillips praised everyone involved in the process, including Committeeman Doug Christie and Library Board President Vincent Antonacci.

"It's been a true partnership between Vincent and the library board, myself and the township... The goal is to work cooperatively together as one community," DePhillips said. "It's never been about township versus library — we're all one community."

The Process

The library conducts an audit every year, followed by completion of a "transfer calculation form," which details specifically how much money must be returned to the municipality. 

The library is permitted to hold onto a 20 percent cushion and must return the rest of the unused funds.

In 2010 the library board voted to return $307,000 of tax dollars to the Township, according to Township Administrator Bob Shannon.

"The funds were applied to the 2011 budget as tax relief as per the  requirements of the law," Shannon said.

Then in 2011, the library board returned no money to the township, according to DePhillips.

"That created a challenge for the township committee in regards to its budget," DePhillips said. DePhillips has been serving on the library board during his tenure as mayor.

"I worked very closely with the library board to position [them] to return funds to the township because of the stress that the township is under with its annual budgeting process," DePhillips said. 

When Will Taxpayers See the Money?

At an Aug. 21 committee meeting, the Wyckoff Township Committee announced that the library would be returning the $776,141 for tax relief.

"My plan would be to have an initial payment made on or about Sept. 30 and a second payment made on or about Dec. 30"  DePhillips said. "Next year, presumably on March 30 and June 30, additional quarterly payments would be made and then the four payments would be done."

That money would be sent to the township from the library and then be appropriated by the committee.

The first two payments would be available for the benefit of taxpayers in next year's budget, and the second two in the following year, DePhillips said.

"[That] means we start with a leg up on the budget," he said. "Theres no intent to spend that money on new projects. The whole point ... is to offset tax liability for our residents."

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Joseph M. Gerace at Joseph.Gerace@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Beth Wharton August 30, 2012 at 08:53 PM
To all of the Wyckoff residents who so generously donate to the "Friends of the Wyckoff Library" each year, your donations to the Friends is not subject to be returned to the town. All donations go directly to the library for programming, services, and items not covered under the library's budget. If you love our library and want to see it continue to grow and be a vibrant asset to our community, please consider donating to the "Friends of the Wyckoff Library".

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