The Saratoga Sun -

Checking out their options

 


The Encampment Town Council devoted nearly half its 34-minute meeting to the plight of the Encampment Branch Library and agreed to help fund the branch in the face of budget cuts at the county level.

Facing a 30 percent budget cut this year, the Carbon County Library System Board (CCLSB) said during a meeting on June 2 that the Encampment-Riverside branch of the library would see reductions in service hours, from 20 per week to 15. Citing the frequent use the library sees, the board decided to set aside $1,000 to help fund the library, provided the funds are only used for the Encampment-Riverside branch.

Doreen Harvey, Encampment Town Clerk, said the CCLSB told her that the amount of money required to keep the library open the extra five hours per week was $4,066.40 per year. The CCLSB suggested the establishment of a fund which would allow communities, groups and businesses affected by the cuts to make donations to pay the expenses to keep the library open, she said.

Any such organization would request a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that any such funds donated would only be used to help fund the Encampment-Riverside branch of the library, Harvey said.

The Encampment branch of the library is used quite often, said Grayling Wachsmuth, Encampment Chief of Police. “There are people there in the day, at night,” he said. “I’m surprised at how many cars are always there.”

With budget cuts filtering down from the state all the way to the municipal level, some members of the council had reservations about earmarking funds, however. Mayor Greg Salisbury said that while he agreed that the library was important to local residents, there were many budget concerns at the municipal level that should be considered.

“I think we’re all willing to help them out,” he said, “but we need to know what’s going on.”

Salisbury said it looked like there was room for the CCLSB to make cuts in places other than Encampment and Riverside. Harvey told the council her understanding was that of 19 employees in the system, 13 were employed at the main library branch in Rawlins.

“Everyone is having to make cuts,” Salisbury said. “They (the CCLSB) seem like they don’t want to make any at all.”

The council, however, voted to grant the CCLSB $1,000 out of the current budget to be donated to a yet-to-be-established group, as long as there were a MOU or other agreement in place that ensured the money would only be used to operate the Encampment branch. Leroy Stephenson, mayor of Riverside, told the Encampment council the Riverside council had pledged $500 for the library with the same conditions imposed by the Encampment board.

The Encampment council also passed the third and final reading of its budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

The next regular meeting of the Encampment Town Council will be 7 p.m., July 14.

 

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