FLOWERY BRANCH - The Hall County Library System's executive committee, meeting at Spout Springs Library in Flowery Branch Thursday morning, approved a proposed FY2014 budget that restores library hours to all branches and eliminates employee furlough days.
That proposed $2.7-million budget plan goes to the county administrator Friday according to System Director Adrian Mixson, who also presented a smaller budget at just over $2.6-million.The bigger budget with a six percent spending increase includes restoring hours to all library branches, adding the smaller budget is something the Board could work back to if needed during the long process that ends when the budget gets approval this summer.
"The one that got approved not only did away with furloughs and dealt with health care cost increases, but there was just enough money to restore Saturday hours for all library facilities in the county and also let us bring back Tuesday and Wednesday night hours so we could close at 8 p.m."
According to Mixson the smaller budget with a three percent increase over FY2013 eliminated furloughs but did not include restoring library hours.Mixson expressed optimism about more revenue in FY2014, but pointed out that furloughs need to go, and the library hours need to return.
"We are being pressured by our own community to do something about hours," Mixson said. "We're struggling, it's been hard to keep the doors open, we've had a lot of staff turnover, and they found jobs elsewhere because of furloughs and the increase in health care cost."
Board Vice Chairman Andy Henderson made the motion for the larger proposed 2014 budget because it would get rid of furlough days and restore library hours.
"We're on a staggered schedule except in Gainesville and people are not sure when it's open and when it's not," Henderson said. "The inconsistency has hurt a lot; I've had several individuals tell me they really miss the Saturday openings."