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Library awaits City Council decision on budget proposal

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The fate of Sunday hours at Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library, 229 Washington St., depends on getting two part-time clerks approved in the library’s 2013-14 budget proposal.

In an effort to keep the building open seven days a week, the nearly $1 million budget proposal, which was approved at a library board of trustees meeting in early February, will have minimal increases.

“We really tried to be conservative other than asking for the clerks,” said Library Director Barbara J. Wheeler. “We cannot do Sunday hours without additional personnel.”

At the end of the library’s trial for Sunday hours in December, the city approved the extension of the temporary clerk positions until the end of the fiscal year in an effort to make the new schedule permanent.

According to Mrs. Wheeler, two part-time clerks would cost the city $29,120 before benefits, which are being configured by Comptroller James E. Mills. This year’s cost of operations and personnel is $982,285.

Mrs. Wheeler said the current budget is on par with last year at the moment, but may see increases as it is tweaked by the city.

In addition to the new clerk positions, the library is requesting 12 additional security cameras and the required hardware, which totals $19,000.

“The board had offered to split the cost with the city on that if they approve it,” Mrs. Wheeler said.

Library trustees have discussed several security issues this year. A recent security audit looked into the possibility of staff training and hiring a security guard.

There are some budget decreases to help balance the library’s requests, Mrs. Wheeler said.

“We used to have our own postage meter machine and we were asked to delete that line and go to the city hall for all our mailings,” she said. “It’s a consolidation of services.”

Mrs. Wheeler said the library has been “pretty lucky” in the past with getting its proposals granted by the city.

“I’m always appreciative of the city’s support of the library,” she said.

However, she has been warned that a shortfall on sales tax may lead to budget cuts elsewhere.

“It’s not drastic, but it’s something that affects the overall budget,” Mrs. Wheeler said.

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