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County delays action on library request…again

Roddenbery Memorial Library officials will have to wait a little longer to find out if the public library will receive additional funding from county coffers.
Earlier this year, the library requested an additional $5,000 and Grady County commissioners tabled action until the end of the year to determine if additional funds were available.
Tuesday’s meeting was the next to last for the county’s fiscal year so RML Director Pamela S. Grigg issued her request for the additional appropriation.
County Finance Director Mary Mayer was not at work Tuesday, but she had communicated with County Clerk Carrie Kines that the only source for additional funding for the library would have to come out of the county’s contingency fund.
The balance of that fund currently stands at $158,000, according to County Commissioner Charles Norton, but county officials say unbudgeted expenses related to the federally mandated narrow banding communications project are yet to be fully paid.
“I think we need to hold up until we get a better handle on this thing,” Commissioner Norton said.
Commissioner T.D. David who supports the additional funding, but supported tabling the issue in September until closer to year end, said the county needs to “sharpen our pencils and put numbers down on paper to prove that we do have the funds available” by the next meeting, which will be the last regular meeting of the fiscal year.
Commissioner Norton pointed out in the financial report through October many line items in the budget were over budget, and the only way to balance the budget is to cut expenses, transfer from other line items or to take from contingency.
Commissioner Al Ball said he would vote against tabling the issue because, in his estimation, the majority of the board plans to deny the request.
Ball said in card games you often “telegraph your hand” and he said the board is “playing games” with the library.
“We should vote to deny if anything, if that is your intention.  They don’t need to be strung out any longer,” Ball said.
Commissioner Norton said he agreed with Ball, but said until the board has a better picture of the county’s finances, the commissioners could not make a “sound decision.”
“The library folks have appeared before us so many times and we’ve delayed and postponed. We owe them the courtesy to respond in a dignified way. Let’s get the numbers on paper and explain why we can do this or why we can’t do it,” Commissioner David said.
The motion to table by Commissioner Norton passed 4-1 with Commissioner Ball voting against.
In a memo to the board dated Dec. 3, Mrs. Grigg wrote that library employees have not received cost of living increases or bonuses in four years and without the additional funding, the library would have to be closed for five days between January and June 30, 2013.
In related news Tuesday, the board accepted the recommendation of the Roddenbery Memorial Library Board of Trustees and appointed Ann Wooten, former Cairo High School librarian, to the board of trustees. Ms. Wooten will replace Ann Flowers, who asked not to be reappointed to another term.

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