OPL budget passes with 5-2 vote

Beth Rumsey
Staff Writer

A discussion about closing the Osgood Public Library and the Milan branch one day a week took place among board members during the regular meeting on Tuesday, September 28. According to board member Melody Bush, this proposal could lower operating costs.

Bush suggested closing each branch on alternate days one day a week. Other board members said they do not support the idea. Board president Gene Pitts said, “There would be a lot of disappointed patrons. My conscience would bother me if we closed the library for one day.”

Bush noted that the closing is all about the money and that patrons would get used to it. Sherri Cunningham noted that when she suggested the idea of closing, she did not know what went on on a daily basis at each library. She now feels that closing would cause problems for the patrons, especially those who use the library to submit their weekly claims for unemployment.

Bush also questioned portions of the budget for the general fund asking for details on the items in the miscellaneous column. Treasurer Richard Parks offered to provide a print out at her request. She advised the board to consider applying for grants from the local foundations to help reduce operating costs.

The motion to accept the 2011 operating budget as submitted passed with a vote of 5-2 with Melody Bush and Ruth Westerman voting no.

A petition signed by 12 people was given to the board prior to the meeting requesting that money left from building the new branch be applied to the debt to help reduce the taxes for property owners. At the August meeting, a motion to use the remainder of those monies was passed with a vote of 4-3.

During the debt service budget discussions, Bush suggested using the balances from the construction fund and the Mable Lamb funds to be applied to the balance of the debt for the new construction to reduce the taxpayers portion. According to Parks, the funds donated by Mable Lamb are already committed. Pitts explained that a portion of the construction fund needs to be retained in order to pay for any unforeseen bills from construction.

Parks explained that the debt service budget can be adopted and changes made to it before October 15. The motion to adopt the debt service budget as is with the provision to apply $60,000 to the fund by October 15 was unanimously approved.

In other business:

• The motion to accept the list of obsolete furniture from the old Milan branch building such as a circulation desk and book shelves was unanimously approved.

• The motion to advertise the sale of the old Milan branch building was unanimously approved.

• The motion to join the Indiana State Library Consortium at a cost of $300 was unanimously approved.

• The Internet use policy was unanimously approved.

All board members were in attendance. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 26 at the Osgood branch.