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Tax-collection snags postpone library budget

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By Janet Robb

TELL CITY - Changes in legislation and "snags" in collecting spring property taxes will postpone hearings for the Tell City-Perry County Public Library's 2008 budget, according to Larry Oathout.

The library director provided board members a copy of a letter Wednesday from Perry County Auditor Connie Berger and Treasurer Martha Wooldridge that stated because of changes in what the Department of Local Government Finance requires counties to report, and House Bill 1001, which changes the tax process, they have been unable to set a spring tax deadline. The News reported the delay in tax bills last month.

Usually, the current year's budget is known by the end of February, he told members, but because of the changes, that has not occurred. Also, Oathout said, the final hearing for the 2007 budget was held in October 2006 but since all information must be in before those are held, he doesn't know when the hearings will be for the 2008 budget. For now, everyone is going on with business as usual, he continued, but if the library officials don't know anything by July, they'll start holding back on spending.

With the 2009 budget, HB 1001 has people digging through it to see what exactly has to be done and what it means for the budget entirely, Oathout added.

In old business, the library doesn't have to worry about a development on its east side - for now. The Tell City Plan Commission voted 7-2 against recommending a development by Progressive Investment Co., which included self-storage units and professional buildings.

Board members raised concerns at past meetings on how the development, especially the storage units, would affect the aesthetic integrity of the library.

At the board's April meeting, Calvin Cash of the engineering firm Cash-Wagner and Chris Goffinet, who represents Progressive Investment, showed members the company's plans for the space and members warmed up to the idea but still wanted the commission to approach the idea carefully.

Oathout said the company could still get the development passed by the city council even though the commission did not recommend it. Board member David Carney said he talked to Cash and said Progressive plans to try another avenue but didn't specify what the plan was.

Originally on the evening's agenda was discussion on the Indiana State Library's new certification rules but Oathout said he "backed off because it's not going to be approved" until this Friday, so changes may still occur. He added that the Indiana Library and Historical Board took questions and comments about the changes and will soon vote to deny or approve changes.

In other news, Oathout provided members with circulation statistics from 1997 to 2007. There has been a steady increase in book circulation with 2007 topped at more than 90,000 for the main branch and more than 50,000 for the bookmobile. Video, audio, computer and magazine usage has steadily increased while microfilm and interlibrary loan has held steady during the 10-year span.

Circulation percentages by item have shifted over the years with book circulation decreasing by 8.9 percent and video circulation increasing from 6.1 percent in 1997 to 14.4 percent in 2007.

Several reading groups and story hours are planned for this summer. Children's Book Week begins today and runs through Saturday while the bookmobile summer reading club concludes July 1.

The summer story hours for Scissors, Rock, Paper - A Good Old Fashioned Story Time begin July 16 and will incorporate Tell City's sesquicentennial into the program. The teen summer reading program begins June 2 and ends July 31 with a chance to win a $50 Simon's Mall gift card.

The Teen Advisory Group will have its Caf Study from 5 to 8 p.m. May 20 for senior-high students needing a quiet place to study for finals. Refreshments will be available and there will be drawings for door prizes.