Haass library budget stalled
Gehrke insist on land deal first
Village of Sussex — The Library Board has tentatively scheduled a meeting next week, Oct. 2, to discuss the latest proposal it has received from the Town of Lisbon regarding the disposition of about 60 acres of land donated by the late Pauline Haass to the town for library purposes.
Library Director Kathy Klager said the board may also discuss whether to proceed with legal action against the town. The Library Board believes state law requires the Haass land be in the "custody and control" of the library. Town officials believe they should continue to have control of the land since it was bequeathed to the town.
It appears the two sides are in agreement that the land should be sold and the proceeds from the sale would be donated to the library by the town. The Village of Sussex would the match the town's donation to the library.
However, they disagree on the timing. The Town Board wants to sell the land and turn over the proceeds whenever library officials decide they need the money to expand the existing library building, or sometime after 2023 if there is no decision to expand the library.
Library officials want the town to make a contribution now based on the estimated value of the land, and then the town can sell the land at a later date and keep the proceeds from the sale.
Town Chairman Matt Gehrke has said that until there is an agreement reached on the Haass land, the Town Board will not pay its share of a $1.1 million 2014 budget proposed last week by the library board.
The Village of Sussex approved the budget during a meeting of the three governing boards on Tuesday, Sept. 17. However, the Town Board took no action.
According to an agreement between the two municipalities, the library can continue to operate next year on the 2013 budget if a 2014 budget is not approved by both the town and village.
Gehrke said last week "there is a zero percent chance" that the Town Board would approve the $894,372 in contributions from the town and village proposed in the 2014 budget, regardless of whether there is an agreement on the Haass land.
Sussex would pay $468,045 and Lisbon would pay $426,326, according to the budget proposal.
Supervisor Ryan Lippert said negotiators representing the town and village had agreed that next year's municipal contribution to the library would be $875,000, not the the $894,000 proposed by the Library. Lippert, who is also a Library Board member, is one of the negotiators trying to hammer out a longterm library funding agreement between the town and village.
However, Village Trustee Tim Dietrich, also a Library Board member and one of the negotiators, said the Library Board budget proposal and the ongoing negotiations should be considered separately.
One town supervisor not likely to vote for a long term agreement is Steve Panten.
"Have you seen the size of the library payroll?" he asked a reporter. "More than $700,000 for five full-time employees. You expect the residents of the Town of Lisbon to pay that?" he asked.
Klager defended the budget, pointing out that the library has about 15 full-time equivalent positions, most of which are filled by various part-time employees. She said a $14,812, or about 38 percent, increase in health and dental insurance benefits was necessary because of anticipated costs increases caused by the Affordable Care Act and additional coverage provided to two staff members who had previously been included in their spouse's company insurance.
She said the employees will receive an average across the board increase of 3-percent which is necessary in order to keep the library competitive in the job market. She said Pauline Haass Library staff levels are comparable, in some cases lower, than other Lake Country libraries.
Overall, salary and benefits are proposed at $739, 597, a 5-percent increase over 2013.
Top stories from the Lake Country area. Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
Click here for stories
on community pride
Do you have news or a nonprofit event that you would like to share with the community? Whether it's a community organization, a business, a local school, or a notable neighbor, we'd love to hear about it.
- Local Doctors Discuss: Great Source for Reliable Information on Nutritional Supplements
- Call for Artists to Participate in WRAP Exhibit
- MHS Key Club selling bracelets to sponsor students in less developed countries
- Woodside contributes baskets for families in need
- Landscape Plastic Recycling Event Success
- Templeton bands to perform holiday concerts
- Guarantee Digital Announces New Marketing Programs for Lake Country Merchants
- Country Roads Take Me Home to the Schauer Center
Lake Country residents share their views on news, happenings and current events.
LivingLakeCountry.com features more than a dozen community bloggers - a group of volunteer conversation leaders who are up on the latest topics and never short on an opinion. Just a few are pictured here. Check out the rest and see what they have to say!
View All Blogs
Do you want to become a Community Blogger? LivingLakeCountry.com welcomes your thoughts and opinions. Contact us for more information:
I want to blog