Tyrone-library to re-open on Mondays

Fri, 12/19/2008 - 4:12pm
By: Ben Nelms

It came down to a tie-breaker recently as Tyrone council members voted 3-2 to have the library open again on Mondays beginning Jan. 5. The library had ceased operating on Mondays earlier this year due to town budget issues. The new library opened in January 2008.

Councilman Tracy Young led the council discussion, making a report on his findings on the issue. Budget concerns earlier this year led to three librarians having their work week reduce from 40 hours to 30 hours in order to retain other library positions. The decision was also made at the time to have the facility close on Mondays to save additional money, he said.

 Young said there has been a 54 percent increase in the number of library cards issues this year, excluding November and December. He said circulation increased 27 percent during the same period, though that figure could be as much as 49 percent when allowing for the library being temporarily closed to move from the old location at town hall. Young said computer use had increased 39 percent between March and October. Yet another expense reviewed was electricity costs.

 ”Since opening in January, our electrical expense for the library equals $13,643.84. Using this number, we can estimate our monthly average to be $1,364.38. Using this monthly average, we could estimate a yearly expense of $16,372.56. This is $4,627.44 below our budgeted amount of $21,000,” Young said. “Even a worst case scenario for an average monthly expense equaling $1,500 will still put us under our yearly budget for a total of $18,000 for the year. One of the deciding factors during our budget workshops was related to utility costs. I am providing this information for the sole purpose of asking the council to rescind the decision to be closed on Mondays and reinstate it starting Jan. 5. The financial impact would be minimal, if any at all, and opening on Mondays will return this well utilized public service to its previous status.”

Beginning the discussion, Councilwoman Gloria Furr said that while she had no problem with the library being open on Mondays, she thought no move should be made in the middle of the budget cycle.

“I think we need to ride it out,” Furr said. “The energy costs are down but we don’t know what the future holds.”

Councilwoman Grace Caldwell agreed, saying the council should err on the side of caution, especially with revenues from building permits decreasing and the potential for lower property tax revenues due to the economy.

“There is a little bit of cost involved (in opening on Mondays) so I say we ride it out until April or May when we look at the budget and see about opening it on Mondays in July,” Caldwell said.

Young and Councilman Eric Dial agreed that there would be additional electric usage if the library was opened on Mondays, though they believed that such cost would $1,000 or less. That cost would be offset in terms of citizens having access to the facility during an additional day of the week, they said. Dial added that he had heard several complaints about the Monday closure.

The discussion ended with a motion to re-open the library beginning Jan. 5. The final vote was 3-2, with the votes by Young and Dial in favor of the motion being offset by Furr and Caldwell in opposition. Mayor Don Rehwaldt, while noting that next year could be a bad one economically, cast the tie breaking vote to re-open on Mondays.

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suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Tue, 12/23/2008 - 7:18pm.

We are headed into uncharted waters, it would be wiser to be carefull and weigh everything than to screw up. A couple of more months and the decision could be clear.

Everyone is cutting.... we are adding?

Hey! Me next to gaze into the crystal ball the guys must have!

Submitted by mysteryman on Mon, 12/22/2008 - 7:07pm.

Now if everyone in this county would get a library card and check out some books about what to do if you see strangers casing your neighbors house while they are away.. oh yeah i forgot they would have to open theyer eyes first my bad...GOD BLESS

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