Library Board Bites The Bullet To Retain Staff, Services

October 27, 1991|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff writer

Library board members are solemnly mourning the dismemberment of their 1992 budget.

The Carroll County Library board of trustees reluctantly voted Wednesday to remove $135,084 from its operating budget to meet county and state cuts.

The trustees narrowly avoided employee furloughs by saving small amounts in each of the remaining categories, said Martha M. Makosky, library director.

"It's sad, but it's the best we can do," said Westminster board member Mary Lou Dewey. "Service to the public and staff morale are the top priorities."

A portion of the money removed came from $52,500 the board had set aside last January in anticipation of state cuts.

Another $32,768 came from discontinuing the Government and Funding Information Center, which helped community groups apply for federal, state and private grants. The GIFC specialist, Sharon Stephan, has resigned to start a grant application company, Makosky said.

"The grants program is the one thing not directly related to our mission," Makosky said, noting that the program had helped several agencies and groups in the county. "It was a hard choice, but wewill have a savings with the furniture and equipment.

"Instead ofbuying the new (pieces) we need, we can move these around."

Boardmembers also agreed to close the library system for an additional five days in December -- from Dec. 26 to Dec. 31 -- to save $5,100. Thebranches would normally be closed Dec. 23-25 and Jan. 1, Makosky said.

"That's when we have the highest use of substitutes at the timewhen the library's used the least," she said. "We'll just turn the heat down and walk away."

The employee-suggested closings were received favorably by the staff, Makosky said.

The remaining cuts willbe compensated by delaying hires, renegotiating contracts, using oiland electricity more efficiently and eliminating some staff training.

"We've been looking at things like not cleaning a carpet this year and saving $1,000," Makosky said. "We've been picking everywhere, and it's nothing that's going to kill us. But there's nothing left. Any good cut in January will devastate us."

The library also plans to save $300 per year by disconnecting every other lighting tube in the hallways at headquarters.

In anticipation of further cuts, the board approved four furlough days -- March 16, April 20, May 26 and June 15 -- to be enacted if necessary. All branches would be closed onthose days and the staff would take unpaid vacation.

"We need a contingency plan, and this will give the staff time to arrange their personal budgets," Makosky said. "I don't want to touch the books again, or else we'll have a store without stock."

Makosky and the trustees said all departments and agencies need to share the burden of budget cuts.

"I think we're trying to be as cooperative as possible and trying to make cuts that will have the least effect on public service," said Mount Airy trustee Eugenia Gartrell. "Service and information to the public are the name of the game."

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