Faced with rising costs of maintenance and insurance, the Longboat Library is often forced to shelve purchases of new books.
To avoid running deficits and eating into the library’s reserve, Eileen Hassel, board member and six-year volunteer at the library, asked the town at the Feb. 17 Town Commission regular workshop meeting to consider helping out with maintenance and adding the library building to its insurance, with the library paying for the increase in cost. The library building and land at 555 Bay Isles Road are both town-owned and are leased by the library in a $10-per-year, 10-year agreement.
“We are wondering if there are ways the town would be able to help in doing some of the maintenance, such as landscaping, that would be a nice savings for us,” Hassel said. “A second item is the insurance we carry on the building and were wondering if there was some way we could be under the umbrella of the town, reducing our costs.”
Commissioners agreed that the town should find ways to help the library and directed Town Manager Bruce St. Denis to research insurance costs and report back at a future meeting.
“I suggest the town go through items,” said Commissioner David Brenner. “Insurance is a no-brainer.”
According to library board member Hazel Steskal, who did not speak at the meeting, the library currently spends approximately $6,000 a year on insurance. In addition to reducing insurance costs by working with the town, the library could save $2,000 if the Public Works Department took over landscaping and maintenance.
“I think they all would like to support the library,” Steskal said. “But we all know it’s going to take some time to look into the options.”
Library President Amy Roth said she was pleased by the response to the presentation.
“I felt that they had a positive reaction and that they would do what they could to help us out,” she said.
The library is staffed entirely by volunteers and runs on an annual budget of approximately $28,000.
Currently, the library has more than 900 members who bring in more than $12,000 through membership fees. Aside from a $4,411 grant that the library received from the town in 2005 to upgrade books on CD, the town generally has not contributed financially to the library in the past.
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