Library Director Pamela S. Grigg had sought an additional $30,000 from the county, which would have brought the county’s investment to $130,000.
Commissioner David made the case for the increase this week and received support from Commissioner Al Ball, but Chairman Elwyn Childs, Vice Chairman Billy Poitevint and Commissioner Charles Norton voted against the increase.
“A lot of what we spend taxpayers’ money on results in instant gratification. We pay someone to work, we buy firefighter’s gear that keeps us safe. With this there is no ka-ching. When we put money in the library we are making an investment into generations of abilities. We are providing greater knowledge and abilities to people who need jobs. When we increase abilities we have better workers who get better jobs. The adage no man is an island, but we try to operate this body in a vacuum when we must be the glue, or some of the glue, that holds all of this community together,” David said.
David said the county must return the funding cut three years ago to what he described as “one of Grady County’s grandest assets.”
He offered a motion to increase the library funding from $100,000 to $110,000 and to take the money out of the county’s cash reserves.
Commissioner Ball seconded the motion but renewed his interest in setting aside a percentage of the Local Option Sales Tax and designating that percentage for library funding.
Ball said that would prevent the annual discussion of how much to fund the library. He noted that in good years the library would receive additional money, but when sales taxes are low they could receive less than in year’s past.
“I don’t think she (Director Grigg) is interested in less money,” Grady County Administrator Rusty Moye commented.
“It just makes more sense to me,” Ball said.
Vice Chairman Poitevint predicted lower tax revenue for the county should the new Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax be passed and he also noted that the county would likely receive less revenue as a result of the new state law ending the ad valorem tax on vehicles.
Moye cautioned the board about dipping into reserves and noted that $300,000 was already being used of reserves just to balance the 2013 budget.
Chairman Childs said when the county’s finances improved he would be willing to vote for more library funding, but not before.
Moye suggested at the end of 2012 if there is additional undesignated funds rather than rolling it all into reserves the county could cut the library a check.
Commissioner David then questioned Moye’s decision to include a $35,000 expenditure to increase the county’s contribution to the retirement fund for county employees.
“You made a decision to do that why not use $10,000 in reserve to increase funding for the library,” David asked.
Moye indicated it was the board’s decision to set library funding at $100,000 and not his, but he did not respond to David’s claims regarding the pension fund. Two weeks ago Moye outlined the changes to the pension fund and told commissioners he had already included the additional $35,000 in the budget, but those discussions were not held during any prior budget workshops where the budget was finalized. However, the board unanimously approved the revisions to the retirement plan to benefit long serving county employees.
During the public participation portion of the agenda, John Monds called on the commissioners to increase library funding.
“A lot of things the county does may not be proven to have results. There are questions how the Tired Creek project will work out but there is an $18 million plus bet it will be positive. What we know about the library is that it already adds value and it does a great job serving people. When you consider library funding, anything you could add in addition will be well used,” Monds said.
After adjournment Director Grigg thanked commissioners for their promise to increase library funding when possible.