10/28/2019- Last month the Menominee County Board voted to cut $25000 from the library system’s budget- now it’s time to decide just where those dollars are going to come from. The library board was tasked with coming up with a plan for the 2020 budget reduction and presented a recommendation to the Finance Committee last week. Their proposal pulls most of that $25000 from their budget for new book purchases next year and the library would instead rely on fundraising and grant-writing efforts by staff and the Friends of the Library organization for acquisitions. However, County Administrator Jason Carviou says this isn’t a long-term solution and he’d rather see staff and facility hours rolled back to cut costs.
“With the amount of staff that they have- the 3 full-time and 3 part-time employees- we should be able to cover operations at the library with less hours than what we currently have budgeted. Right now, all 3 part-times are scheduled at 25 hours and we know that the Hermansville branch is only open 16 hours, so that’s giving an extra 9 hours a week in the budget right there to cover extra at Stephenson or wherever it might be.”
Library Director Amanda Winnicki says the slash in funding was sudden and the library board’s proposal buys them an additional year to figure out a long-term plan without cutting staff, which she says, will only lead to a reduction of services to the community.
“We’re a very busy place. We have 130 to 160 people a day coming through the main branch and while not all those people need staff, many of them do need people to help with the computers or help with a fax or to help them find their books or materials. I don’t see that we have hours to give. If the position is that we need to cut staffing, then you’re going to have to cut services someplace.”
Carviou says he will draft a budget amendment that follows the recommendations of the library board to take $25000 out of their discretionary spending. That amendment will be presented to the Finance Committee for consideration at their next meeting.