By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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The five-member board of directors unanimously approved the 2013 budget Thursday, said Paula Barnes, the executive director of the North Olympic Library System, said Friday.
The $3.9 million budget for 2013 is down about $189,000, or 4.6 percent, from 2012’s $4.1 million budget.
But it doesn’t call for a decrease in the hours of operation at any of the four libraries that the system oversees in Port Angeles, Sequim, Forks and Clallam Bay.
Despite the drop in property tax revenues — about $3.6 million, down from about $3.8 million in 2012 — and a current levy rate set as high as is legally allowed, Barnes said the budget avoids having to dip into the library’s reserve fund.
It does that primarily by leaving vacant three library staff positions and filling a full-time position with a part-time staff member.
In this way, the system won’t have to cut any positions and lay off any staff members, Barnes said.
The unfilled positions include an additional information technology staff member, a customer services specialist and a young-adult librarian position, the vacancy of which Barnes said is especially disappointing.
The librarian would have been based in Port Angeles and developed programs to attract teenagers to the libraries, Barnes said.
The position, with salary and benefits estimated at $66,080 was created last year.
Barnes said filling the position will be a priority in a future year.
“We love the idea of having a position that was focused on [the teenager] clientele,” Barnes said.
“We’re very interested in getting that position filled as soon as financially possible.”
Overall, 2013 personnel costs total about $2.5 million, an 11.2 percent decrease from the 2012 total of about $2.8 million.
The 2013 personnel costs are 63.7 percent of the total library system budget.
The 2013 budget was able to stick to the library system’s 2012 plan in other ways, Barnes said, such as a commitment to devote at least 10 percent more money than last year to materials.
The system plans to spend about $408,000 on such materials as books, DVDs and downloadable audio books, compared with the roughly $364,000 spent in 2012.
The planned expenditure is about 10.4 percent of the library system’s total budget for the year.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Capital expenditures in the North Olympic Library System’s 2013 budget includes about $26,000 to study what could replace the current Sequim library building.
Paula Barnes, the executive director of the system, hopes the study, to be done with input from architects and other consultants, will be finished by the end of 2013.
But she said she could not estimate a timeline on the proposed replacement of the Sequim Library at 630 N. Sequim Ave., until the study is completed.
The budget also includes money for a new storage and maintenance building at 401 Orcas St., near the Port Angeles Library at 2210 S. Peabody St.
An aging greenhouse, torn down last week, no longer served the library’s storage needs, Barnes said.
The system worked with the Sequim-based salvage company and building materials store, Around Again, to tear down the house so the materials, much of which date back to the 1940s, could be recycled in some way, Barnes said.
“We knew those materials would be rare, and [will now] probably end up going to a good home,” Barnes said.
The library system plans to use most of the roughly $130,000 made from the sale of library property at 402 E Lauridsen Blvd. to the Clallam County Genealogical Society to build a 1,200-square-foot storage and maintenance building.
Designs for the new building are expected to be presented to the library system’s board of directors by March 28 of next year, with construction likely to begin by summer.
Barnes said care will be taken w to make sure it fits in with the residential feel of the neighborhood.
“We don’t want it to look too much like a maintenance building.”
Planned renovations to the Forks Library will start after Forks Friends of the Library raises roughly $110,000 after having pledged $175,000 toward the upgrades.
The library system itself has raised $600,000 toward the Forks renovation, which will include a roof replacement, electrical and plumbing system retrofitting and computer upgrades.
No capital improvements are planned in 2013 for the Clallam Bay Library, Barnes said.
Peninsula Daily News