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posted: 9/23/2011 5:30 AM

Sugar Grove Library board adopts budget — real or not

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  • The Sugar Grove Library in early 2010, when the library was shutting off many lights to keep its electricity bill down.

       The Sugar Grove Library in early 2010, when the library was shutting off many lights to keep its electricity bill down.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer, 2010

  • Trustees adopted the 2011-12 budget Thursday for the Sugar Grove library, though they don't know if it's realistic at all yet.

       Trustees adopted the 2011-12 budget Thursday for the Sugar Grove library, though they don't know if it's realistic at all yet.
    Susan Sarkauskas | Staff Photographer

  • Daniel Herkes

      Daniel Herkes

 
 

The Sugar Grove Library board adopted a budget Thursday night, but admitted it didn't have enough information to know whether the spending limits set were at all in line with actual experience.

"The budget will not be credible," said ex-Trustee Doug Hartman, citing spending on lawyers, the likelihood the library may have to pay a replacement director almost $50,000 more than what it paid Beverly Holmes Hughes, and because of the $72 an hour it is spending for new interim Director Marilyn Boria, who works part time.

Last year, the board budgeted $12,000 for legal bills. The library's lawyers have attended about seven meetings already this fiscal year, as the board dealt with the fallout of firing longtime Director Hughes in July.

Library board Treasurer Daniel Herkes said he and Boria have been preparing a financial report that will compare spending year-to-date against what was budgeted. They expect to present that information at an Oct. 6 board meeting. "We're doing our best," Herkes said. Such financial reports were previously compiled by the former library director.

But with the recent troubles at the library, the board decided to at least approve the bare-bones budget. It was built off last year's budget, with a few changes, said the board's attorney, Roger Ritzman.

"All it (the budget) is, is a piece of paper (with) authorization for the board to spend money up to a certain amount, if it has the money," Ritzman said.

The budget sets a ceiling of $1.944 million on spending. $615,000 of that is the annual repayment of money the library borrowed to build its facility at 125 S. Municipal Drive, which opened in 2009.

The district expects to receive $1.125 million in income, mostly from property taxes.

It allows spending up to $565,000 on salaries and payroll taxes; $216,000 on contractual services, including $50,000 on legal services; and $580,000 on operating expenses, including $150,000 on library media.

About two dozen people attended the budget hearing and the subsequent board meeting.

New Trustee Anthony Oliver, appointed earlier this month to fill a vacancy, said he voted for the budget reluctantly. He, like the library's critics, wanted more detail on how the money will be spent, and how the library did on last year's budget.

For example, ex-Trustee Ken Wiesner asked where money for special programming, such as entertainers for the children's summer reading program, is allocated.

Under state law, public library district boards must approve a budget and appropriations ordinance by the fourth Tuesday of September. The budget covers the fiscal year that started July 1.

Three trustees -- Secretary Bill Durrenberger, President Joan Roth and Vice President Art Morrical -- were absent.

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