Council President Donna K. Williams and her colleagues are inviting Davis in case he and the OPL Board of Trustees want to ask for part or all of the $200,000 city elders had set aside as a reserve in the Calendar Year 2014 Municipal Budget.
Lascari is to meanwhile show whether the $200,000 OPL reserve remains intact, has been partially tapped into - or if it still exists at all.
The council, by ratifying the CY 2014 budget, approved the allocation of an overall $703,000 for OPL operations and some capital spending. The first $503,000, by state law, is the calculated minimum a municipality of Orange's size needs to keep its public library open.
Council members set aside an additional $200,000 which Davis and the trustees said is need to meet its payroll and make needed repairs. A majority of the council was left with the impression that Davis was to come before them to demonstrate a need to tap into that reserve. The allocation, if given council permission, would be disbursed monthly.
"It was last summer when the director came her and said he needed the $200,000 to run the library," said Councilman At-Large Elroy Corbitt. "I want to know if the money is there - either it's there or we'll have to raise property taxes."
Corbitt broached the subject in response to South Ward Councilwoman Jamie Summers-Johnson's OPL report on the trustees' Dec. 2 meeting. Summers-Johnson, who presents monthly library updates, follows predecessor Edward Marable, Jr. as the council's liaison to the trustees.
Council members had meanwhile received a report from their budget consultant, Dieter Lerch, CPA, stating that, as of Sept. 30, both library line items have been spent. Lascari - in place of the absent Lerch and Mayor Dwayne Warren-appointed Finance Director Adrian Mapp - rose to the public speakers' podium to explain.
"What the budget consultant report was a projection of budget expenditures among all departments," said Lascari. "He took the expenditures and balances as of Sept. 30 and projected them to Dec. 31."
Williams has asked Lascari to have a budget report - including the $200,000 OPL supplementary fund's status, ready for Dec. 5 delivery to the City Clerk's office.
Lascari, responding to Williams' question on the status of preparing next year's municipal budget, said that she has not received proposed budgets from all department heads. The Warren-appointed CFO did not indicate whether she had received or not OPL's proposed 2015 budget.
Corbitt, in his questioning Summers-Johnson, said he was favoring the proposed funds transfer from unspent funds to expended line-items. That comment brought challenges from public speakers Jeff Feld and Bruce Meyer.
"I respectfully suggest that Councilman Corbitt reconsider his support of transferring CY2014 appropriated money," said hardware store owner Feld. "How a prudent fiduciary of a public trust can announce his support of legislation that hasn't been yet drafted is outrageous."
Meyer, a six-year Citizens Budget Advisory Committee member, urged the council to not tap into the supplemental fund until the library trustees have shown what he considers as fiscal restraint. The retired airline pilot presented how the trustees' choice of a roofer earlier this year behaved as a caution for prudence."
The trustees chose, out of three bidders for the roof and rotunda work, a contractor, who was not qualified, who said he would patch the roof," said Meyer. "He then put in a $1.1 million change order to replace the slate roof tiles with another material when the slate tiles last 100 years. He tried to stick the library, the city and the taxpayers."
Meyer added that, early in his time on the CBAC, the library trustees presented a budget "for the first time in six or seven years.
"What is going on is malfeasance," added Meyers, "illegal and borderline criminal."
Summers-Johnson's report noted that the $750,000 matching grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust would be used for the $1.2 million roof and rotunda repair. The grant, which OPL and/or its partners are to make a dollar-for-dollar match, has been extended into May 2016.
Another $100,000 in grants are being used away from OPL operations. A $48,000 Community Development Block Grant from Essex County is pending to repair the High Volume Air Conditioning and chiller system. A U.S. Department of Education Full Services Community Schools Grant - $52,563 to be spent over five years, will be applied to an OPL-Montclair State University partnership for student Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program.
The council's Dec. 2 and Nov. 17 meetings video may be available by the time you read this. The council has hired a camera operator to record and transfer the video onto YouTube since Oct. 21. Access may be had through youtube.com/user/CityofOrangeTownship.