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Library budget includes pay raises

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One employee to receive $7,000 pay increase

By Calen McKinney

 

They are spending less money while expanding services all the while.

At the Taylor County Public Library, finances are in order and its checking account is healthy.

Library board members approved the 2014-2015 operating budget on Monday, which will see more money spent on buying books for patrons.

The library is funded primarily through local tax dollars. Of the projected income for next fiscal year, it is estimated that $800,000 of the nearly $1.4 million in revenue will come from Taylor County residents' tax payments.

The library also receives state and federal funding, estimated at $13,000 and $5,000 for next fiscal year, respectively.

Rounding out the expected income is $530,000 in carryover from this fiscal year, which is $30,000 more than was carried over from the 2012-2013 year to this fiscal year's budget.

On the expense side of the 2014-2015 budget, Library Director Julia Turpin plans to spend $76,000 on new books, which is a $20,000 increase from the current year.

The budget also calls for more to be spent on audiovisual materials, online and other databases and other materials.

Turpin told board members that, since the new library building is paid for and construction is complete, more money can now be spent to build the library's collection, which hasn't been done in many years. She said she hopes to purchase a combination of electronic and print books for patrons to read.

Turpin said patrons are still expressing interest in reading physical books, even though electronic readers are very popular today.

She said she is considering buying some electronic readers and circulating them to patrons. This might be tried on the bookmobile, she said, with readers telling staff members what they might like to read and them then loading and delivering the readers to those patrons.

Turpin said databases such as ancestry.com have been popular and the library will soon offer others that allow patrons to take free classes to learn various skills.

Turpin said the library currently ranks low in the number of computers it has for public use, when compared to the Taylor County population. She said she hopes to be able to remedy that and buy more computers next fiscal year.

The personnel line items at the library will increase a bit this coming fiscal year, with staff members seeing raises, though the overall salary line item will dip from $310,000 to $300,000 this coming year.

Turpin's salary will increase from $52,000 a year to $54,800.

Turpin said an effort was made during the last two budget years to bring library staff members' salaries inline with what other library personnel earn around the state. Some larger increases were given last year, since some employees were more underpaid than others, and more hefty increase were proposed for the 2014-2015 budget.

Board members discussed at length the options to grant those increases or decrease the raises in an effort to make sure the library has enough money to operate. Some of the proposed increases saw an employee receiving a $7,000 raise. And some of the raises equate to a more than 50 percent increase in pay when adding increases for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 fiscal years.

Turpin said the employee who was selected to receive the $7,000 raise, who wasn't mentioned by name, now essentially performs two jobs and has higher education than other employees. She said the employee has performed well and, if given the $7,000 raise, would be making about $14 an hour.

"But I think the evidence is there and she's worth it," Turpin said.

Some positions at the library will soon require more education, Turpin said, and the library must offer a good wage to keep its employees.

"I think it's important to realize these employees are the ones bringing people into the building," she said.

Despite the salary increases, Turpin said, the library is saving on insurance costs and its total operating costs have dropped by about $25,000.

Turpin said she will work on creating a policy that states when and how raises will be given at the library. Board members will consider that policy this fall.

General operating expenses will decrease by nearly $59,000 next fiscal year. The biggest cut comes in the building repair category, since its space is essentially new. The library opened at its new location on East Broadway in March 2013.

Overall, operating expenses at the library are estimated at $771,839 for the upcoming fiscal year. This year, they were budgeted at $796,100.

At the end of next fiscal year, it's estimated that the library will carryover nearly $600,000 into the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Board member Pat Webster made a motion to approve the budget, which board member Mike Hall Jr. seconded and was unanimously approved.

 

Also at the Meeting:

• Turpin said circulation at the library in the month of May was up 5 percent when compared to April's figures.

• The Friends of Library group has about 30 members now, Turpin said, and will have its annual meeting in July. She said she expects the group will eventually have about 75 to 100 members.

• The board's next meeting will be Monday, July 14, at noon at the library. It is open to the public.