The Pine River Library Board of Directors has announced the first steps to address the revenue shortfall from falling property tax income. The board had hoped to cover the shortfall with a mill levy tax increase, but the ballot issue failed by nine votes in the Nov. 6 election. The property tax increase would have cost $3.60 a month for a $300,000 home.
Starting Jan. 1, the library will close on Sundays and shorten its weekday hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., reducing the total hours open from 61 to 45. The library had been open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The library will be open on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. instead of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Library Director Shelly Walchak announced the cost-cutting measures on Tuesday.
The board will continue to look at additional cost savings, but the following cuts will start on Jan. 1:
Staff hours cutHealth insurance benefits reducedOutreach activities curtailed to the Pine River Senior Center and Evenings PorchMaterials budget cutProgramming and marketing budget cutTechnology budget cutCost of living and/or raises suspended indefinitelyStaff furloughs (unpaid days)Total cuts for this first phase of budgeting will equal $56,313, Walchak said.
Another $117,660 in cuts is necessary to balance the budget this year unless the board agrees to money from the reserve-capital fund for the fourth year in a row. Using money from this fund for operational expenses could reduce any expansion plans in the coming years.
"The library staff apologizes for any inconvenience these cuts may cause to those faithful residents who so steadfastly support our library," Walchak wrote. "The library will continue to do the best it can with the resources available."