The North Bend Eagle


 

Council wary of higher library expenses

by Nathan Arneal
Published 6/13/12

While area residents have enjoyed watching the new North Bend library rise from the ground, the City Council has kept their eye on the bottom line.

At the June 4 council meeting, the Library Board asked for $1,500 to pay for 40 hours of technology support at the new library.

The Library Board has a general expense budget of $11,000 per year to pay for books, utilities, software, internet services and miscellaneous items. If the Board takes out the $1,500, it will only have $500 left to last until Oct. 1.

More than one council membered wondered if the $1,500 fee could have been covered by a grant the Library Foundation received to cover technology costs. The grant was for $200,000.

“We need to set the Library Board down,” councilman Kevin Ferguson said, “and say, ‘You’re way over on hours. You’re spending $1,500 here that you don’t have. You need to start cutting back somewhere, somehow, someway.’”

Library bylaws restrict librarians to 100 hours per two-week pay period. In the old building, librarians averaged 70 to 75 hours per pay period. During the first four pay periods in the new building, librarians have logged 251, 130, 130 and 104 hours.

All council members recognized that going over hours was to be expected as the adjustment was made to the new building and hoped that hours would eventually settle down.

“I think you should expect to be over hours on the move and the first week and the open house,” councilman Tom Mullally said, “but if they keep going over, I think we tell them we’ll pay for 100 hours and they can divvy it up how they want and get the schedule straightened out.”

The city budget does include some library funds in certificates of deposit.

“We can’t afford to spend $4,000 or $5,000 a year more (in the new library),” Ferguson said. “Pretty soon the CD is gone, then what?”

The council agreed to discuss its concerns with the Library Board.
In other council business:

• Following a public hearing, mayor Jeff Kluthe read ordinance 512, which would set a permit requirement and restrictions on street vendors. This would cover people who want to sell goods out of trucks or temporary tents. A 30-day permit will cost $50. Vendors must also gain permission to set up from the property owner.
Farmer’s markets and fresh produce would be exempted from the ordinance.
The ordinance will receive two more readings before being voted on at the July 3 meeting.

• The council tabled approval of the lease contract between the city and the Library Foundation for the new library because the legal description in the contract covered more area than the library grounds.

• The council passed Resolution 416, which will allow the city to sell the old Carnegie library without a minimum bid. Previously, the minimum bid had been set at the building’s appraised value of $37,500.

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