Cumberland Times-News

Local News

March 11, 2014

Funding alternatives sought for Keyser library

KEYSER, W.Va. — Keyser Councilman Terry Liller wants the Mineral County Commission to form a committee to find alternative funding sources for the Mineral County Public Library.

“My main concern is that I think that the public library is an at-risk entity,” said Liller, who spoke during Tuesday’s commission meeting and agreed to serve on the committee. “If we don’t take some proactive steps to try to do what we can to preserve it, we are going to lose it.”

Commission president Janice LaRue said that a committee sounds like a good idea and that commissioners would be in touch with Liller.

The city plans to give the library $5,000. If that number is calculated as a percentage of the city’s budget and applied to funding from the county board of education, then the library should receive $186,000, according to Liller.

“I really get sensitive when I hear people as characterizing the city as not caring. The city cares very much but it cares about a whole lot more than just the library,” said Liller.

The library is facing more than $10,000 in funding cuts for fiscal 2014 because of a decision that the council made last year to cut funding, library director Connie Sutton said. Future state funding is dependent on the local match. The board and the commission haven’t cut funding to the library, Sutton has said.

Liller said that library funding is discretionary and is not a funding mandate.

“I would dare say with the commission, that if you got into a crunch, library funding would probably be at risk for you,” said Liller.”

He said that once construction on the water treatment plant and the Chestnut Street project are both completed, the city will be facing a significant reduction in revenue and it will become more difficult to fund discretionary items.

“We as a community have to find a better way to address the overall issue and the longer-term plan to keep it funded,” said Liller.

He said he was at the commission meeting more out of personal concern than in an official capacity.

Liller also suggested making school libraries public and said maybe volunteers could help relieve some financial burdens.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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