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updated: 3/17/2011 12:36 AM

Carol Stream library board picks bigger budget

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Carol Stream library board members had two budgets to choose from Wednesday, with differences centered on how much staff salaries should be raised and if new hires should be made.

Library Director Ann Kennedy proposed salary increases of 3 percent and budgeting for three new staff members -- a full-time reference librarian and two part-time circulation clerks. Board Treasurer Michael Wade's proposed budget called for 2 percent salary increases, with no new hires.

In the end, Kennedy's budget won approval 4-2, with Wade and board member Tom Arends voting in opposition.

Kennedy argued new hires are needed to deal with increases in library usage, which have affected the amount of work for current staff members. She said circulation has increased by 15 percent, reference questions by 25 percent and computer usage by 18 percent. The library has added a computer help desk to handle increased usage.

"The increase in activity has occurred since last year," Kennedy said. "The library is a constantly moving and growing entity. It's not stagnant."

Wade said he thought funding for new positions shouldn't be included in the budget until the library's human resources committee discussed the issue. He also said the library staff has been able to handle varying library transaction levels in both summer and winter months.

Arends questioned whether the $3,431,500 levy amount the library board approved last year, which is the same amount in this year's budget, would be enough to cover three new hires. He said after the meeting he was in favor of one new hire, but not three.

"You're levying the same amount, but you're spending differently," Arends said.

Board President Robert Douglas said there was enough money for new hires. He said that funds are appropriated ahead of time for expenditures such as hiring new staff members, but the actual new positions are later approved by the committee and library board.

"If we don't budget for new hires, there's no money in the budget for hires if the human resources committee approves Director Kennedy's request for those three positions," Douglas said. "You're putting money in the account if and when the committee decides there should be another position, If they say, 'No, you don't need additional staff,' that money will go back into the general reserve."

The approved 2012 budget estimates expenditures at $3,797,742, while Wade's proposal recommended $3,691,739. The library budget will be submitted to the village.