Library Seeks Slight Increase in Overall Budget
Despite increases in some costs, overall operational budget remains flat in 2012.
The Pauline Haass Public Library is asking for $1 million to fund its operational budget, capital plan and debt service in 2012, which is an $11,815 increase from this year.
Kathy Klager, director of the library, said the overall operational budget will not go up next year, but the additional money will be used to pay for debt service payments totaling $207,965, which is a $4,000 increase from 2011. Capital projects are budgeted at $54,000, which is a $4,000 increase from this year.
The total operational costs are projected to rise by $9,820, but the costs will be offset by more than $12,000 in reduced costs brought on by pension contribution changes dictated from the state level.
“Our continuing education budget will also return to its 2010 level, which is a good thing after it got cut last year,” Klager said. “Our greatest asset for our community is our staff…and they need that continuing education.”
Klager said some operational costs will increase next year in order to increase the number of programs being offered by the library due to a big demand for its storytime programming, utility rate increases, local telephone cost increases and the need to get hepatitis vaccinations for staff.
The budget also proposes giving staff a 3 percent wage increase in order to help make the library more competitive with surrounding communities who pay higher salaries. Klager said the library is offering salaries well below those in neighboring communities and it’s making it much more difficult to attract and retain staff.
A new employee with a master’s degree in library science currently makes $36,100 and the increase would bring it to $37,183, which is still below the $39,363 average in southeastern Wisconsin. Klager said even clerks working the front desk need a high level of personal, reference and telephone skills, but the rates at which the library is paying is making it difficult to keep up.
“That starts at $10 an hour and right now that’s not very competitive,” she said. “It’s better than McDonald’s, I think, but it’s not very competitive.”
Town of Lisbon leaders raised some concerns with the proposed pay increase because of budget concerns that may arise in 2013 and most taxpayers haven’t seen raises since the economic downturn of 2008.
However, Sussex Village Board members said they found the request to be reasonable.
“I consider a library, just like a park to be one of the jewels of the community,” Village President Greg Goetz said. “I think at this time with the pension changes, I think it’s an opportune time to give that raise to employees and augment their pay.”
The boards will continue to discuss the proposals in order to approve a budget in the coming months.