The new leader of Fulton’s public library doesn’t yet know how they’ll cope with a massive cut in the library’s budget, but she knows it won’t be pretty.
Betty Maute no sooner took the job of running the library than the city proposed to cut its support from $180,000 to $100,000. The library receives another $90,000 from the city school district and $5 – 10,000 from various fees and fines.
“We’ll need to go over the budget with a fine-toothed comb,” she said of the nearly 30% cut in its revenues. “We’ll probably have to cut hours and staff and buy fewer books.”
The library uses its money to maintain its classic building, to fill it with books and other materials, and to pay a staff of five full-time employees and three part-time employees.
The building, which was built with money from industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1905-6, is on the National Register of Historic Places, “which makes maintaining the building more expensive,” Maute said.
A Friends of the Library group, the charter for which is about to be sent to the state, Maute said, will be part of the effort to recoup some of the losses.
As they discussed the cuts being made to the city budget, members of the Common Council noted that they believe the city’s support is only intended to go towards maintenance of the building.
Mayor Ron Woodward said that he believed that over the years, support increased and began to be used for operations and salaries.
The library cut was one of two large reductions in the budget. The other is the elimination of a payment to Menter Ambulance Service. The payment of more than $140,000 a year gave Fulton residents priority for ambulance calls, Woodward said.
The city also plans to buy no new equipment in 2012 and will put its annual sidewalk repair program on hold.
Maute said the library’s budget committee will meet next week to go over options for dealing with the lost revenue.