The Pine River Library Board of Directors has announced the first steps to address the revenue shortfall from falling property tax income.
The board had hoped to cover the shortfall with a mill levy tax increase, but the ballot issue failed by nine votes in the Nov. 6 General Election. The property tax increase would have cost $3.60 a month for a home valued at $300,000.
Starting Jan. 1, the library will be closed Sundays and will shorten its weekday hours to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., reducing the total hours open per week from 61 to 45. The library had been open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The library will also cut its Saturday hours; it will open at noon instead of 10 a.m. It will still close at 5 p.m.
Library Director Shelly Walchak announced the cost-cutting measures Tuesday.
The board will continue to look at additional cost savings, but the following changes will start Jan. 1:
Reducing staff work hours.Reducing health insurance benefits.Limiting outreach activities only to the Pine River Senior Center and Evenings Porch.Cutting the materials budget.Cutting programming and the marketing budget.Cutting the technology budget.Indefinitely suspending cost of living pay increases and/or raises.Requiring staff furloughs (unpaid days).Total cuts for this first phase of budgeting will equal $56,313, Walchak said.
Another $117,660 in cuts will be necessary to balance the budget this year unless the library board agrees to use money from the reserve-capital fund for the fourth consecutive year. Using money from this fund for operational expenses could reduce any expansion plans in the coming years.
“The library staff apologizes for any inconvenience these cuts may cause to those faithful residents who so steadfastly support our library,” Walchak wrote. “The library will continue to do the best it can with the resources available.”