CHAPEL HILL- Earlier this week, Town Manager Roger Stancil announced that Orange County’s funding for the Chapel Hill Public Library would be going up enough to add at least two more hours worth of staffing to the proposed library budget.
On Wednesday the Chapel Hill Town Council heard of another windfall: $80,000 in vehicle tax revenues above what had been projected. A majority of council members signaled they’d like to see that extra money go to the library.
“We’ve been working on this budget since September,” said Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt. “There’s one issue and there’s $80,000 dollars. I’d say they match up.”
The additional funding would keep the library open approximately 64 hours a week, just four shy of the level it operated at before the facility doubled in size.
The council reviewed possible options for closing the $101,000 gap needed to restore the library to its full schedule, including trimming the employee pay raise, deleting a new position, scaling back park and greenway improvements or shifting money from other priorities. In the end they decided those budget cuts came at too dear a price.
“None of these options feel really appealing to me because I don’t feel they’re very sustainable,” said Lee Storrow.
New Library Director Susan Brown said her first priority is to restore weekend hours. She said any change in the library’s schedule would likely begin in the fall.
This was the council’s last budget work session before voting on the 2013-2014 fiscal plan. The recommended budget includes a two-cent property tax rate increase, half of which is targeted at transit, the other half will largely go to the library. The council will formally approve the budget on Monday.