Library board votes to demolish house

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Feature Writer

TELL CITY – The fate of the home and property that sits on the hillside below the Perry County Public Library-Tell City branch was finally decided at the library board’s Feb. 6 meeting.

Board members have weighed several options since the library acquired the building in 2012, debating a few times on whether they should remodel the home, demolish it or wait until another solution presents itself. Library Director John Mundy told board members he had checked into the two options presented by the board previously; remodeling and demolition. 

The cost to clean and remodel the home on the property would be around $34,000, he said. “That would be to make it useable as a meeting space, knocking down some interior walls and things,” he added.

The cost to demolish the house, remove the foundation, fill, grade and sod the property would be in the range of $8,500 to $9,500.

“I would rather just see it torn down,” board member Regina Schaefer said as the discussion opened up. “I don’t see putting all that money into it to renovate it and not get our money out of it.”

Member Steve Upmeyer asked if the current meeting room in the branch met the needs of the patrons and Assistant Library Director Paul Sanders confirmed it does, adding there are rarely conflicts.

Mundy said the costs for both options were obtained from Ettensohn Construction, but he could put a notice in to take bids from others.

Board member Tony Collignon said the estimate given is “about the going rate” to demolish a home and clean up the property. 

Upmeyer put forth a motion to allow Mundy to obtain bids for demolish, which was seconded by Frank Mafia. The motion carried unanimously. Mundy informed the board he would place an ad in the Perry County News seeking bids and inform them of offers he received. 

In other business, Mundy asked board members to consider changing the children’s assistant position to a professional salary position. The number of hours would jump from 30 to 35 and a low-level certification would be needed.

“The biggest cost would be that it would also include (Public Employees Retirement Fund) benefits,” Mundy added. “It would give the person in the position more time to plan programs for the children.” 

Kim Embry, who Mundy said was hired into the position to replace Susan Jordan, would make a salary of $18,000 a year if the position change was made.

Another position change Mundy announced to the board was the retirement of bookmobile assistant Debbie Feix, who will leave the position at the end of May. She had asked, however, to come back in a substitute position for the bookmobile when needed. Mundy said if the board approved, Feix’s hours would be capped at 530 per year. 

Mostly, she would cover vacation time and sick days as well as help out with the bookmobile’s school visits, Bookmobile Director Brandi Sanders said.

The board approved both changes and also gave Mundy permission to fill two clerk positions that are now or will open up with the staff changes. 

In addition to the clerk positions, the library director also asked the board to approve the hiring of a cataloging assistant to help him with the task of cataloging, copy cataloging and other duties. 

“It would be a help to me … I could get back to more planning and analyze how the library is being used,” he told board members, adding the part-time position would only be for 10 hours a week at $9 an hour. 

“Are you anticipating this being a temporary position?” Upmeyer asked.

Mundy said from a budget standpoint, he thought of it as a permanent position, but he believed over time, after the person gained experience, they would leave the position and then the board could determine if the position was still needed. He also stated an interested clerk could learn the cataloging process and add those duties to their job, eliminating the cataloging position in the future.

When asked if they would also benefit from a cataloging assistant, Lisa Hammack said it would be nice to have someone come in a few hours to help while Brandi Sanders said it would not necessarily be beneficial to her.

Board president Colleen Smith suggested doing a six-month or one-year trial period to see “how things go” and give Mundy a little extra help. Upmeyer agreed, adding the board needed to be cautious so the position doesn’t get “lost in the shuffle and become a permanent position.”

The board voted to allow Mundy to hire the assistant and then revisit the topic in six months.

The board’s next meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. March 6.