County board denies library funding increase | News

The Colfax County Board of Commissioners voted last week to allocate the same amount of funding as last year, $27,500, for the Colfax County Library Association, denying a request for an increase to $32,000.

Last year the association that includes libraries in Schuyler, Leigh, Clarkson and Howells also asked for $32,000 — a $7,000 increase from the previous year — but was approved for $27,500 for 2016-17.

Schuyler Public Library Director MeMe Smith said the association voted to request $32,000 again this year because the group felt the $27,500 in annual funding isn’t adequate.

“As expenses go up for everything every year, of course we were looking for another increase,” Smith said.

Schuyler Public Library receives half of the association’s funds, which would have been an additional $2,250 had the commissioners approved the increase.

Smith said the plan was to improve digital services for patrons with that money.

“We’re going to be moving into a new facility, so of course we’re wanting to upgrade, not just the building and the physical aspects of the building but our resources as well,” she said.

Commissioner Gil Wigington voted against providing funding for the library association for 2017-18, saying he views the county contribution as double taxation on residents in those communities since the municipalities also provide financial assistance for libraries.

Howells Public Library Director Victoria Vacha takes issue with the idea that towns should be solely responsible for funding libraries.

“I think (Wigington) needs to review what the library does for the community,” Vacha said.

The Howells, Leigh and Clarkson libraries would have received an additional $750 each had the commissioners approved the $32,000 request.

“We could have initiated more community involvement with our library in terms of more…

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