Reduced Hours, Retirement Incentives Help Prendergast Library OK 2017 Budget

The James Prendergast Library Board of Trustees discussing their 2017 budget Thursday. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The James Prendergast Library Board of Trustees has reduced its spending by more than $200,000.

On Thursday, the library board passed its 2017 budget that totals $916,049, which is $215,000 less than their 2016 spending plan. After the board meeting, Tina Scott, library executive director, said they were able to reduce expenses by closing on Sundays and reducing hours, cutting the materials budget and by offering a retirement incentive to three employee.

In June, the library board passed a resolution to reduce hours, which followed the October 2015 decision to close on Sundays. In August, the library board approved a retirement incentive for three full-time employees, which was accepted by the employees in September. R. Thomas Rankin, library board president, said, in September, the library will save about $100,000 from the retirement incentive in 2017. Scott said on Thursday they will miss the experience the three long-time library employees brought to the staff.

”This was a difficult budget,” Rankin said. ”We never wanted to be in this position.”

Rankin said the board is thankful that Scott has been able to manage the library’s budget so the facility can remain open, with most services still available to the public. He said they were able to balance their budget despite a significant cut in aid from the city, which was decreased by $250,000. The library received $350,000 in aid from the city in 2016, which was decreased to $100,000 for 2017.