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Library board to select budget course Thursday

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

Members of the Library Board of Trustees will decide Thursday evening on a plan they hope will fix their budget woes.

After spending an evening last week combing through their budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, the board members will consider eliminating a part-time janitorial position and authorize an array of small expense cuts from postage, staff training and building repairs.

These trims total nearly $12,000 from their roughly $1.7 million budget.

“We thought it was the best we could do,” said Phyllis Patton, vice chairwoman of the board.

On Thursday, board members will be attempting to comply with state standards that dictate 10 percent of their total budget be spent on books and materials. That’s important because if they don’t meet the standard they would be ineligible for many state and federal grants.

The proposal they are considering would require another $14,000 be added to the books budget.

The initial budget was more than $27,000 short in this category, and the board members rejected it.

What it preserves, however, is an in-house maintenance worker who performs a variety of duties that a city-provided Utilities Division employee wouldn’t. From a detailed list of 72 maintenance duties now performed by library maintenance staff, Patton found out the city maintenance crew would only do 17 of them, she said.

“We could not give up that full-time employee,” Patton said. “It’s a very important position.”

Replacing the library’s maintenance and custodial employees with city workers would have allowed a deal with the city providing an additional portion of book budget money – $24,000.

It still wouldn’t reach the full amount of books funding the state requires.

This proposal also requires eliminating a part-time worker.

The state calls for 10 percent of public libraries’ budgets to be devoted to books and materials before allowing them to vie for state and federal grants.

Board members are trying to fulfill that requirement and ensure the library’s entire operation is adequately funded.

Sara Jones, division administrator of the Nevada State Library and Archives, reminded the board earlier this month that strictly budget-motivated cuts bringing a reduction in service could result in Carson not being able to obtain grants to complement the books budget.

Patton and some of the other board members have expressed concern that the city’s reduction plan could be construed as a service cut.

Other library staff would have to complete tasks now done by the in-house maintenance employee, which would take them away from other duties.

The board’s other options include taking an offer from the city or simply waiting it out and contesting the plan with the Board of Supervisors.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.

If you go

What: Carson City Library Board of Trustees meeting

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Sierra Room, Community Center, 851 E. William St.