News

Trustees take first step for new library

by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

Books, music, e-books and more materials remain on the uptick as part of the North Olympic Library System’s 2013 budget.

 

The library’s board of trustees unanimously approved its 2013 $3.9 million budget at a public hearing on Nov. 29 in the Port Angeles Library. Despite declining revenues of about $190,000 from property taxes, from which the libraries draw 92 percent of their revenues, NOLS plans to increase its purchased materials for circulation, maintain its hours and take the initial steps to expand the

Sequim Library.

 

Materials are going up next year to just over $408,000 with another increase set for 2014 as part of the NOLS 2012 plan, a financing plan for the four branches, including the Sequim Library.

 

Paula Barnes, NOLS executive director, said she plans to work with library staff and trustees through next year to find a consultant for up to $26,000 to create a cost assessment and feasibility study of building a bigger Sequim Library on the existing site or determine whether the trustees must look for another site. She said a new library would need to accommodate the community for 20-30 years.

 

If building a new facility were deemed feasible, NOLS would ask voters to approve a Library Capital Facilities Area, tentatively set within the Sequim School District boundaries, and ask that new area of voters to support a bond for the building.

 

Voters approved a tax levy increase to 50 cents per $1,000 assessed property valuation in 2010 that puts NOLS at its taxable cap. This prevents the libraries from collecting a 1-percent property tax increase this year. To balance 2013’s budget, NOLS plans not to fill some positions in the Port Angeles Library valued at more than $150,000 and it won’t put money in reserves. Union employees remain in contract negotiations for next year with no cuts or furloughs planned. Next year’s personnel costs are budgeted for $2.5 million, which is 11 percent less than this year.

 

Despite the cuts, the Sequim Library maintains its hours from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.

 

Barnes said the board and staff plan to reevaluate NOLS’ four branches’ hours at the end of next year to see if the extended hours are fiscally feasible.

 

For more on NOLS, visit www.nols.org or call 417-8500 or 683-1161.
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