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Library board OKs summer reading money, talks '14 budget

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Finances to pay for materials used in Gwinnett County Public Library's summer reading program were approved on Monday at a called board meeting.

The trustrees approved $36,009.35 from the Georgia Public Library Service for materials that need to be ordered and received by June 30. That was the only vote taken by the trustees, but their meeting ran more than three hours long and included an executive session of nearly 90 minutes.

In the public portion of the meeting, the trustees and staff discussed the fiscal year 2014 budget, presented by Jane Walters, the division director for business services, which was projected to have a 3 percent reduction in revenue to $17.57 million.

The "buddy system," which is one option for how many hours the library would be open was also considered along with personnel resources.

Nancy Stanbery-Kellam, the executive director of the GCPL, said library officials are concerned about maintaining a certain level of service to customers, along with security of each building.

"To get these, we had to give up levels of service, but that's happened over time," she said.

Personnel expense was projected to have a 1 percent reduction to $13.91 million, and it's expected to be the sixth straight year staff will not have a pay increase.

The $1 million reduction in county funding has only recently been noticed by customers, Stanbery-Kellam said, as she referred to the materials budget.

Board chair Dick Goodman then asked, "What are people going to have to wait for," he said. "Is it what they need or want?"

Design plans for two capital projects are moving along, each paid for by library SPLOST funds. The $7.6 million relocation of the Lilburn branch, and the $2.77 million upgrade and addition to the Norcross branch were each highlighted.

Comments

Gundoctor1 11 months, 1 week ago

No raise in 6 straight years but they have money to move one branch and refurbish another???? Typical Government response to any problem. I bet those are some really happy employees. I did here the dog catcher got a nice raise in Gwinnett.....

I know what we can do. Let's spend our way out of this problem. How about some bookmarks with ads on them? No?

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jackster 11 months, 1 week ago

I think you make an interesting point here - it seems clear that the county's citizens are willing to tax themselves for expanded libraries and coverage.

So, then would they also trade a splost tax for an increase in the mill rate? If we want nice things, we have to be able to provide the services for them.

Would commissioners and splost proponents be able to not propose a new round of splost?

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Anonymous14931776 11 months, 1 week ago

How about a board chair who promotes literacy and library services for ALL Gwinnett citizens.

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LetsSaveGwinnett 11 months, 1 week ago

What does it say to the employees when the director wants to buy more books instead of giving employees a cost of living adjustment after 6 years of flat wages? These are the same library workers who we trust to help our kids find books, put on reading programs, and help us find medical information. The people of Gwinnett deserve a better library with better leadership.

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jackster 11 months, 1 week ago

It says they have capital dollars and not operational dollars, and a basic review of budgets would reveal that.

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Zach101man 11 months, 1 week ago

While yes money is being spent relocated the decades old Lilburn Branch, it is not as big of hit to the library funds. The library is being relocated into property owned by the city of Lilburn. The City of Lilburn is also building a new city hall complex to alleviate the old city hall. The library will be located on the first floor of the building and the city hall administration on the on top two floors. Lilburn, not the library budget paid for the land and will cover the cost of the library (for the most part). By combining the buildings, not only do they save the taxpayers money but it is a win-win. And you have to remember that some SPLOST funds can only be used for certain purposes because that what the taxpayers voted on.

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kevin 11 months, 1 week ago

Those that have been in their jobs for a long time period always react this way. They want more of our money to spend in order to increase their power base. I have yet to find a government employee that is ever saying enough spending, let's start figuring out how to do things better with less to give the taxpayers a break. (The hell with taxpayers. They get more money, and we want a piece of their pie). This thinking is just non-existent in Gwinnett and many other governments.

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MaryHarmon5 11 months, 1 week ago

I've watched the situation at the library evolve over many years and would like to make a couple of points. It is not the Library Director who determines if staff get raises. That decision is made by the Library Board. I have followed Mr. Goodman's tenure on the library board with great interest. Am I the only person in Gwinnett County who sees a conflict of interest between his position on the Suwanee City Council and the Gwinnett Library Board? If a decision is made to close a branch, I'd be willing to bet that he'd protect his Suwanee branch. Seems like the commissioners continue to appoint people who have their own agendas rather than the interest of the library and ALL of the citizens of Gwinnett County. I am disgusted with his comment, "Is it what they need or what they want?" Sounds like Mr. G. wants to dictate what we will read. I also find it interesting to note that while the employees have not received a raise in 6 years, Mr. Goodman appears to want to get rid of items in the library that are for entertainment. The library has absorbed every cut to date and in spite of the board, the employees continue to deliver excellent service and tighten their belts. The Commissioners should give a little more thought into who they appoint and if the board members truly have an interest in a PUBLIC library system or if they have their own agenda. I went back and looked at old minutes on the web site and there was one board member who rarely shows up and she was re-elected. This system supports everyone in the county from young to old without bias. Kudos to the library staff for maintaining the services in spite of the lack of support.

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