Carroll Lynn Valachovic, Guilderland library condidate
GUILDERLAND — Currently the library board’s treasurer, Carroll Lynn Valachovic believes her financial expertise is an asset to the other trustees.
She had filled out an unfinished term on the board before she was re-elected to a five-year term from 2006 to 2011; she then was elected last May to fill out a year of another unfinished term.
Valachovic said she is running again because other board members asked her to, especially with the transition to a new library director. She noted there have been a lot of changes in the last three or four years with several long-time trustees leaving.
Valachovic had volunteered at the library as a Guilderland High School student before going to Siena College where she earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration. She has been a certified public accountant for about 20 years, she said, and works for a local firm where she prepares audited, reviewed, and compiled financial statements and tax returns.
“My role on the board has been giving the best advice I can on anything financial,” said Valachovic, “so everyone can understand the issues to make informed decisions.”
What she is most proud of in serving on the board, she said, is the way the trustees “look thoroughly at everything and make good decisions.” She went on, “Whether people agreed or not, we had good dialogues. It’s never adversarial and always respectful.”
About goals for a new term, Valachovic said, “My big push right now is, because of the bond defeat, we need to do structural upgrades; we’d put off needed structural maintenance.”
She spoke of the library’s 26 heating and cooling pumps that are starting to fail and noted that the 22-year-old building still has its original roof. “We’re starting to push the limit,” Valachovic said. Without the needed repairs, she went on, “We’ll have a non-working library.”
She noted that the proposed budget for next year sets aside $90,000 in a capital reserve fund. “We’re trying to plan for large replacements, to maintain the actual shell and integrity of the building,” Valachovic said. That will be her focus in upcoming budgets, she said.
About staying under the state-set levy limit, Valachovic said, “My personal opinion is, we should as much as we can…If, God forbid, the roof fell in, we’d have to go out for a bond or go over the cap. If we plan carefully, I’m hopeful we can stay under the cap.”
She added, “I would hate to see people lose their jobs to stay under the cap.” Valachovic noted that salaries and benefits make up the lion’s share of the spending plan.
On the role of the library in the Internet age, Valachovic said, “A lot of the role is still what it used to be — books.” Although she personally does a lot on the computer, Valachovic said she prefers to read books. “I like to turn pages,” she said.
Right now, she’s halfway through an 800-page book by her favorite author, Stephen King — Under the Dome. (And, if you’re watching the TV series, she doesn’t want to hear about it.)
Valachovic went on about the role of the library, “People go to get on the Internet and to get other services,” she said, naming job searches and learning English as a second language, as well as attending concerts or seeing movies with kids.
Asked what direction the library should take in light of the bond defeat and declining enrollment, Valachovic answered, “I don’t know. A lot will come from re-working the 10-year plan. The community needs to say what they want. I think Guilderland deserved a larger library,” she said, but continued of the bond defeat, “That’s OK; it’s their library.”
The important thing, she said, is: “What do the residents want? A dedicated computer lab? More CDs and fewer book purchases?”
She concluded, “It’s always a balancing act between the budget we have and what people want.”