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Library Wants Town Funds for Furniture, Parking

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the library was requesting $200,000 from the town for facility improvements. That money will actually be collected from fundraising.

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – The New Canaan Library is asking for $50,000 in town funds to make improvements in its facilities, including $25,000 to add parking spaces.

Library officials at Wednesday’s special joint budget presentation meeting explained why they needed the money for the new parking lot adjacent to the building and for furniture.

Library Director Alice Knapp said it will be challenging to fundraise to make up for gaps in funding. The library, she said, must pay staff and improve its Wi-Fi service, which was in demand after severe weather knocked out power to many residents last year. The library accommodated many people who needed to stay connected during the prolonged outages. The New Canaan Library is not an official agency of the town but receives some funding.

“It is difficult to raise money for things like desks, furniture, routine stuff, fixing the worn-out chairs that the staff is using,” Knapp said. The library wants to improve the furniture annually, she said, not just during building projects. The library’s regular funding request is $1.93 million, about 2 percent more than its 2011-12 outlay, but it also expects to receive grants and money from fundraising.

The New Canaan Fire Department is requesting about $3.4 million, a 13 percent increase from what it received in this budget year. The department is also asking for $883,000 for capital expenses, with the bulk of it to pay $610,000 to replace a pumper truck. Assistant Chief John Hennessey said it would also spend about $7,000 to replace radios for firefighters.

The New Canaan Police Department, the department of emergency management and general town government operations also had presentations during the meeting. Changes in the line items may not happen until next week when departments meet with the Board of Selectmen.

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