News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 20, 2013

VCPL sets project priority

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The Vigo County Public Library Board of Trustees on Monday approved advertising the library’s proposed $7.1-million 2014 budget.

However, that does not mean the board has approved the details of library spending for 2014.

At a nearly 90-minute meeting Monday night, board members said they would like to make a list of major library projects, prioritize them and ensure they have funding in place for them all before moving forward.

Those major library projects include plans for a new library roof, a proposed remodeling of the ground floor of the library and a plan to upgrade lighting in areas of the library that now seem too dark. Plus, the board remains uncertain how to deal with the aging West Terre Haute branch.

“We’ve got a lot of major projects,” said James Brown, a board member. “Can we financially do them all?”

Board members were shown Monday evening a proposed plan for remodeling the entire ground floor of the library. That proposal, based on results of an online survey and focus groups, involves, among other things, establishing a “teen room” and moving all of the library’s computers to a single area in what is now the reference wing of the library.

“It could be really phenomenal,” said Kristi Howe, library director, speaking of the proposed plans.

The board voted to “table” a proposal to seek architectural services for the proposed remodeling.

The remodeling project could cost roughly $500,000, Howe said, noting that is a very rough estimate. The plan may eventually be approached in smaller phases, she said.

The board also saw details of proposed salary increases for the library’s roughly 80 employees Monday evening.

Those proposed salary increases would include a 2.5-percent pay boost for staff earning more than $50,000 annually, an increase of $1,250 for staff earning less than $50,000 and a raise of 35 cents per hour for hourly staff. Taken together, those proposed salary increases would cost about $98,000 in 2014, according to figures presented to the board.

About $5.7 million of the library’s budget of $7.1 million comes through property taxes.

A public hearing for the library’s 2014 budget is set for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 3 in the library. The board is expected to adopt the budget at its regular meeting later in September.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com