Library still without federal ID number

JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Public Library — whose charter as a school district public library was approved last December by the state — will conduct its annual election June 26 at the library.

Director Erica Wing, meanwhile, noted Friday that the library still doesn’t have a federal ID number through the U.S. Internal Revenue Service that it has been waiting on since January. She said the library has been in a state of fiscal “limbo” this year. It has had to use other alternative funding to meet operational costs.

The 38 S. Market St. facility has been rechartered by the state, but hasn’t been able to touch the $396,528 levy already approved by Greater Johnstown School District residents to be used for 2019.

“It’s frustrating,” Wing stated.

She said city government is still assisting the library with needed processing functions such as payroll and health insurance until the ID issue is straightened out.

Wing said the district will conduct its election for district voters from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 26 at the library. She said there will be no budget vote because the library isn’t going beyond the $396,528 levy already approved in 2018.

“We’re not asking for a budget increase,” Wing said.

District voters on June 5, 2018 approved a proposition to permanently establish the facility effective Jan. 1, 2019 as a school district public library. Residents also approved a set $396,528 levy to pay for the library’s operation for 2019.

Wing said the June 26 vote will be to fill three vacancies on the new library Board of Trustees. Two of the trustee terms up are to full expired terms currently held by Shannon King and Elizabeth Russo. Terms would run from July 1, 2019 to June 20, 2022. King and Russo are seeking election to two of the seats.

Also, there is a vacancy to fill the unexpired term of Hari Koliath, who couldn’t serve until June 30, 2020. Newcomer Tyler Rush is also seeking one of the three available seats.

The Johnstown Public Library doesn’t have its federal ID number yet due to the previous federal government shutdown that put that action on the backburner of federal legislative action. The ID is required through the IRS because Johnstown’s school district public library is considered a new business.

The city library changed its charter for financial reasons, but is now finding itself with continued cash flow difficulties. The library received official word Dec. 18 that the state Education Department’s Board of Regents approved its new charter as a school district public library.

But Wing first reported in January that due to the Dec. 22 to Jan. 25 federal government shutdown, the facility couldn’t acquire a federal ID number. That situation has continued throughout 2019, hampering the library’s ability to access its already-approved levy.

The Johnstown Public Library for decades mostly received municipal funding through city government. The library in 2018 received its last large chunk of city taxpayer money through the city budget. The city provided $275,000 last year for the library through a normal budget allotment. But municipal funding of about 75 percent had become tenuous in recent years. The library decided to make a change to set school district taxpayer-funded budgets.

Now, the only city money being provided the library in 2019 is $2,500 — a set amount given through a previous Carnegie library commitment.

Technically, the city still owns the library building and parking lot.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.