Library Board budget approved by city of Grand Marais

Grand Marais Public Library Director Linda Chappell and Audrey Stattelman, president of the library board, presented the library’s 2014 budget proposal at the Wednesday, July 10, Grand Marais City Council meeting. The library budget first comes before council because both the city council and Cook County commissioners must approve it; under the terms of a joint operating agreement, each entity pays half of the library’s operating expenses.
As usual, said Stattelman, there are still a number of unknown factors that may influence the final budget, making projections a bit difficult. For example, the union contract, health insurance, public utilities costs and a propane contract are still awaiting finalization, she said. The 2014 budget also includes the cost of carpet cleaning, which should be done about every 18 months.
Chappell said the library has been seeing “hordes of people” who are enjoying the newly renovated building. There are some new services the library staff will concentrate on next year, said Chappell, such as an online magazine service, portable devices for public use, and an electronic book service offered through the Arrowhead Library System.
“People love the new services,” said Chappell. “But they don’t want to give up the old ones either.”
Despite the new offerings and plans for even more services, there is good news about the budget. Chappell said that, due mainly to a librarian’s retirement earlier this year, she anticipates a less than 1 percent increase in the 2014 budget. By comparison, the 2013 budget was an increase of 4.4 percent over the prior year.
What that means is the city’s half of the 2014 budget will be just over $130,000, a figure that pleased council. “That’s amazing to have only a 1 percent increase,” commented councilor and library board member Jan Sivertson. “That’s pretty good work!”
Council approved the library budget, and Chappell said she will now take the proposal to the county board.