Trenton Public Library

brendanod has a question for some of you denizens of Trenton and Mercer … – promoted by Rosi

Read this in today’s Times of Trenton.  I have lived in Mercer and Northern Burlington my entire life.  My knowlege of Trenton politics is limited to newspapers, and conversations with others who work or worked for the City of Trenton.

One question keeps going through my mind.  Why can’t the Trenton Library be absorbed and become part of The Mercer County Library System????  Mercer County has a very good library system that operates branches in most of the other municipalities within the county.  This seems ripe for consolidation.  I would think the county has the knowledge,experience, and infrastructure to achieve this.

Obviously, Trenton taxpayers would have to become part of the system and pay into the library tax.  Some sort of deal would have to be worked out for the buildings, books, and everything else that goes into a library.  It doesn’t seem that difficult to me.  

I have never heard of this even being discussed.  Who wouldn’t want this? The County? The City? Both?  I would think no matter what the end result would be better for the citizens of the city.  What am I missing?  The current system appears to be on life support.

I know a few Blue Jersey readers seem to have good knowledge of the inner political machine of Trenton City politics. I was hoping to get their thoughts on this issue.  If we can’t achieve consolidation on this issue, I suspect nothing ever will.

Comments (4)

  1. ConnectingDots

    I live in Trenton and I don’t know any specifics about the why or why not  questions re:merging with the county system but would be willing to bet that if we were to be merged, we would surely lose our neighborhood branches.  Its a suburban county where cars rule.  Could the other municipalities be trusted to support what city residents really need? Our branches are vital to our neighborhoods.

  2. robaustin

    Towns that are part of the County library system have an extra library tax tacked on to each taxpayer’s bill as they have to pay into the county library system to be a part of it.  That’s how it works.  So does Trenton want another tax to have their libraries associated with the county system?  They’re still paying for a library either way – whether it’s as part of their city tax, or county tax.

    I live in Hamilton and posed the same question to the tax assessor and found out that even though we aren’t a part of the county system, our library tax is approximately 70% of what we would be paying if we were part of the county system.  Of course there ARE less services at the Hamilton library – we’re not part of listennj, or a few other things but I guess we do OK.

    OTOH – any resident of Hamilton and any other town not in the County system (Princeton isn’t) can join the county system individually for $75 a year.  Or if you work in the county you can also join for free.

    So – is i feasible for Trenton?  Unlikely, as I am sure the taxpayers there are getting slammed and adding a new county tax probably isn’t going to thrill them.

  3. deciminyan

    …is also closing neighborhood branches as a way to “save” money.  They are considering merging into the Camden County library system.

  4. brendanod (Post author)

    ran another story —

    stating they had found funding to keep the 4 satellite branches open from 3 to 7pm.

    I agree it would probably be difficult to keep 5 libraries open in the city under a county system.  I agree neighborhood branches are important in a city and to receive maximum benefit to the citizens the branches remain accessible by foot.

    I think a benefit to the city relinquishing the library to the county would be that it could remove the funding from the city budget.  This would allow more budgeting flexibility and wiggle room around the 2% cap for other budget items.  The tax would then appear as a mandatory a la carte item on your county tax bill.  The 2% cap will cause many creative taxing gimmicks all over the state.


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