08/28/2019- Some significant changes could be coming to the Menominee County library system if a recommendation to cut their funding by $25000 is ultimately approved. During Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, county commissioners considered options to address a more than $175000 structural deficit in the 2019/2020 budget, with one of those options being to decrease the county’s operating transfer to the library system by $25000. Before the commissioners’ discussion even began, however, the public weighed in on the proposal and many, like 15-year-old Faith Putnam said the cut would be detrimental to a valuable county asset.
“It’s been a safe haven to quite a few of my classmates. There’s a group that goes after school every single day to the library and spends at least an hour there. They work on the computers, they read books, they socialize… The library’s not just a community center, it’s a family. All of the staff are friendly and nice and willing to help- it’s a family for Stephenson.”
The exact ways in which the proposed funding decrease would impact the library system weren’t identified by commissioners and would likely instead be left up to the library board to determine. Commissioner David Prestin says the move isn’t meant to minimize the importance of the library, but rather, establishes priorities.
“Our rescue squad service is on the brink of collapse. They’re struggling to keep it staffed. Who’s going to pick up the people that are sick. The repeater tower- Bagley- it’s on the verge of condemnation. That needs to be replaced…There are incredible challenges that this county faces and they all cost real money.”
While the consensus of the committee was to reduce the library funding, they also agreed they wanted to see the MSU contract level preserved in order to maintain a full time 4-H program coordinator. A public hearing and final vote on the 2019/2020 Menominee County Budget is expected at their next meeting.