BELLOWS FALLS - The Rockingham Free Public Library's proposed FY2015 budget, approved last week by its trustees, will appear as is in the town report with no discontent from the Rockingham Selectboard.
The library's board of trustees does not require any sort of approval from the Selectboard, but Trustee Board Finance Committee Chairperson Deborah Wright told the Reformer that Selectboard members can file a petition within a certain amount of time if they did not like what they saw. The proposed library budget, which is level-funded, will now be entered as a warrant article in the official town report, which will be made available to taxpayers before Town Meeting Day in March.
Reference and Historical Collections Librarian Emily Zervas attended Tuesday's Selectboard to answer questions with Mary Van Hartesveldt and explained that the health insurance cost figures read $22,057 because the trustees chose to go for the "most expensive case scenario" for the director that will eventually replace Celina Houlne. She said it is unknown at this time what type of insurance, if any, the new director will opt for.
The trustees want to allocate $364,270 for the general operation of the newly renovated library, though Wright said that figure involved some "shooting in the dark" because the facility's new systems carry some uncertainty with them. She previously told the Reformer the library has not yet entered into any contractual agreements, which will come with interest and warranties, for certain aspects of the renovation. The warranty on the elevator expires in August, she said.
According to the figures, the library's general fund of $320,800 would be raised by taxes. An additional $19,730 will come from investments, trusts and interest and $1,900 would be generated by grants. The budget also states there will be $10,800 from fundraising efforts, $2,800 from donations, $7,940 from fees and $300 by way of "total miscellaneous income."
Before the Selectboard moved on with its agenda, Library Trustee Elayne Clift stood up to say she did not vote to approve the proposed budget because it does not include any pay increases for the librarians. She said the library's staff did a wonderful job of handling last year's issues, which included a complete renovation, the termination of a contract with the project's initial general contractor and a temporary move to an alternative location.
Zervas also encouraged the roughly 30 people in attendance to stop by and see the newly renovated building. She said about 95 percent of the library's books are back on the shelves. The library reopened to the public on Friday, Nov. 1.
During his manager's report, Municipal Manager Willis D. "Chip" Stearns II said end panels have been installed in the library and he believes they "add a real touch of class to the place."
He also mentioned the three-alarm fire at Basin Farm in Westminster earlier in the day and thanked all agencies that responded. These agencies, he said, included but were not limited to the Westminster Fire Department, Rockingham Highway Department, the Bellows Falls Water Department, the Bellows Falls Police Department and the Windham County Sheriff's Department.
The property belongs to The Twelve Tribes, an international confederation of religious communities founded by Gene Spriggs. Stearns said members of the organization have been dispatched from New York and they already have plans to rebuild the structure that housed three families.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com; or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow Domenic on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.