Thursday, November 27, 2014

Library delaying expanded hours amid budget cuts

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 7/23/2014

With Ottawa city commissioners asking departments to look for places to cut back, the Ottawa Public Library said it uncovered a way to trim $12,000 from its budget.

The library plans to delay expanding Saturday operating hours until more funds are available in the future, Terry Chartier, library director, said. Chartier represented the library Monday afternoon during a city commission study session regarding budget discussions.

With Ottawa city commissioners asking departments to look for places to cut back, the Ottawa Public Library said it uncovered a way to trim $12,000 from its budget.

The library plans to delay expanding Saturday operating hours until more funds are available in the future, Terry Chartier, library director, said. Chartier represented the library Monday afternoon during a city commission study session regarding budget discussions.

The library originally requested a 2-percent increase for salaries and other expenses, according to city documents. But the increase was not feasible, commissioners said, and the library instead was asked to help reduce spending.

“The $12,000 comes from the additional cost of employee salaries, employee benefits, and utility cost for the extra hours we would have been open,” Chartier said. “We will continue to look at that option in future years.”

In asking library officials to find ways to trim the budget, Sara Caylor, city commissioner, said she didn’t want the library to do anything extreme or for it to feel like it was shouldering the whole burden for the city.

“We are looking at an increase, but with your help and your partnership we can kind of curtail that increase for our citizens,” Caylor said. “[We just want the library] to be a partner with us ... we are asking all of our departments to cut.”

The library is granted a 10-mill cap for spending, Blake Jorgensen, city commissioner, said. The proposed budget with the 2-percent increase would have raised the libraries budget to about 9.439 mills, but after cutting the $12,000 the library would be operating at about 9.2 mills.

“If you’re looking at a 4-percent increase in salaries in this next year, I think you will be capped out,” Jorgensen said of the 9.439 mill. “What I’m trying to point out is 10 mills, and that was a special ordinance to get to 10 mills. I don’t think there is going to be any movement on that ceiling.”

The city commission is planning a budget hearing 7 p.m. Aug. 6 in the county’s Commission Chambers in the Franklin County Office Annex, 1416 S. Main St., Ottawa.

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