Library Forges on in Funding Fight


The Fannin County Library continues the fight for more funding as 2013 unfolds. During the Tuesday January eighth Fannin County Board of Commissioners meeting, Fannin County Library Trustee President Joe Webb petitioned for additional funding for the library. In the meeting, Webb also presented the board with $3,500 in donations to keep the library open for 48 hours through March 20th.

“As of March 30th,”

Webb said,

“if we don’t get more support—either through private donations or through the budget—we’ll again be back to the position of closing the library.”

Specifically, without additional funding the library will close every Wednesday for 2013 and, starting April first the library will close the entire third week of each month for the remainder of 2013. Additionally, without more funding the library staff will have 100 furlough days a year.

Previously, the library requested a $30,000 increase for 2013. Currently, the county allocates $167,720 to fund the library and has denied all requests for this year’s budget increases. Webb explained, though, that the county’s portion of funding only keeps the library open 30 hours a week, where the remainder of funding is provided for by private and non-profit donations, such as the Friends of the Library. But, Commission Chair Bill Simonds wanted to know how the $167,720 is spent asserting the money is combined with other money in one fund. Webb explained however, that the accounting requirements are strict. Later in the conversation, he admitted that the $167,720 is collected into the Pines regional Library account, which includes Townes, Union and Fannin Counties.

Newly elected Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson pressed Webb on the issue, badgering him to know where the money was going.

“It goes to the staff salaries,”

Webb said,

”…utilities, which is about $29,000 (and) materials.”

He went on to explain the library also benefits from joint services as well, such as the technologist’s services and central staff members, adding that the state pays the librarians’ salaries.

“We have over and over again given you detailed analysis,”

Webb said, but noted that the board wanted the library budget in one line item. Webb said he would re-submit a detailed budget analysis to the board.

FYN has requested a copy of the detailed analysis.

Later that night during the Blue Ridge City Council meeting, Webb petitioned again, this time to the Blue Ridge Council. In a unanimous motion, council approved a funding increase to the library of fifteen hundred dollars; the city already gives $3000.

“I’d like to thank the city for the increase in the public library fund raising,”

Webb said.

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