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Library Board mulls budget

Appointment to fill open seat will be revisited in Aug.  

The Library Board at its July meeting made plans to make plans, but the real decisions will have to wait until August.

The Board, which has $346,741.77 in an undesignated fund, needs to figure out where to put that money in its approved final budget — due before Aug. 31. The vote to table the approval, as well as the fund designation, until the Aug. 28 meeting was made in order to give the board more time to have their budgeting questions answered, designate the funds correctly, and also perhaps incorporate some of the public’s input into the plan. 

“They took into account a lot of the public comments on the budget, and they went ahead and tabled (the approval) in order to address those, which is a good thing,” said county Auditor Clint Schaad, who attended the meeting to help trustees out with their budgeting 
troubles. “It’s one thing they’re working on doing — getting that budget out there and letting people make comments on it.”

Additionally, board members decided to go back to the drawing board with their recent trustee appointment by inviting all three applicants for the position to the next meeting for a do-over. That decision was made in order to give the other applicants opportunity to interview for the position — or even have their applications properly reviewed, which some community members said didn’t happen last time around.

“If by review you mean state the three applicants’ names and then decide — that’s what happened at that meeting,” Angela Stanley said at the meeting when some trustees said that they had reviewed the applications in June. “The three names were read and you made a decision. Reviewing applications is fine, but you didn’t review applications at the meeting, you read three names. And to me there is a difference.”

Mark Raintree, the trustee who was appointed in June but hasn’t yet been approved by the Board of Supervisors, said that he was fine with trustees going over the applicants again in August.

“I just want to help the library,” Raintree said. “I can do it from up there (where trustees sit) or from down here.”

As far as public input goes, the 20 or so folks in attendance at the meeting came up with some ideas and not all of them to do with how to spend the money.

There were those types of proposals, of course — some submitted to library manager Teena Capshaw earlier this month and some spoken aloud in a sort of roundtable discussion — and they encompassed suggestions like repairs to the library, more and better books, and a new library building sometime in the future. 

However, no motions were made to designate the money or even to clear up budgeting confusion, like the questions surrounding exactly what the purpose of a mysterious $40,997.82 “building fund” is. Attendees wanted to know whether that fund is for a new building or for building repairs — a distinction that Schaad said could easily be made with a more clear label. However, the question about the fund’s purpose wasn’t directly answered and a distinction wasn’t made, but Schaad said at least those issues are on trustees’ radars to be reckoned with in August, which “isn’t too late,” he said.

Confusion in regard to budgeting practices didn’t end with the ambiguous “building fund.” Other issues, like not budgeting accurately for known costs and “using a reserve like an ATM,” as Schaad put it, led one incredulous attendee to describe the trustees’ budgeting as “retarded.” 

However, with the extra time that board members voted to give themselves, Schaad, who is scheduled to meet with Capshaw before the next meeting to go over any budgeting questions, said he’s sure trustees will be able to approve a budget.

“(Trustees) are learning what needs to be done with this budget and how it needs to be approved and shown to the public,” Schaad said. “We’re going to meet and go through it and hopefully get some of those questions answered.”

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