WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published September 15, 2011, 10:31 PM

Library Board Members Hope GF Council Reconsiders Tax Option

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Though some library board members are hoping to convince city council members to take another look at a proposed tax increase, library director Wendy Wendt thinks it is a dead option until next year.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Though some library board members are hoping to convince city council members to take another look at a proposed tax increase, library director Wendy Wendt thinks it is a dead option until next year.

The increase would have generated $150,000, but one council member said library pay raises are not the city's responsibility and the library should find it within its own budget.

"The only options are to keep staff where they're at or to cut hours, close days and let staff go," said Wendt.

The tax was voted down 4-3, and taken out of the mayor's preliminary budget.

According to Wendt, a comparative study done by the city determined library employees make around $7.50 an hour; much less than employees at libraries in Fargo and Bismarck.

"The library has worked at a bare-bones budget for years and there have not been fluffy things. We don't have a library vehicle, we don't have new furniture, we don't have extra things we can cut," said Wendt.

Now the library board is hoping to change the minds of the four city council members who voted 'no'.

"I think the community wants to be proud of their library and how we treat library employees," said board member Marie Strinden.

Though board members plan to contact city leaders in hopes of getting the tax back into the budget, council member Dana Sande said it would be unlikely.

Sande told WDAZ since the preliminary budget has been approved, the council cannot increase it. The only way to get it back in would be to cut something else.

Wendt says she will propose the increase next year for her employees.

"My guess is they're feeling very undervalued and hurt, but recognize the library board is trying to do what is right."

Tags: