Supes Hear from Public on Library Cuts

by Brian Wilson
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–The Kossuth County Board of Supervisors met for nearly 2 hours Monday with area residents who voiced concerns about funding cuts to the county’s libraries. Lany Mitchell is the Director for the Wesley Library and the President of the Kossuth County Library Association. She addressed the board first and says her library received a little over $20,000 in county funding last year. With the county only allocating $85,000 for the coming budget year, once that figure is spread evenly amongst the 12 libraries in Kossuth County, they will see about $7,000 each.

Mitchell says funding at that level will not pay the basic bills to keep library doors open, no matter how they try to cut costs.

Mitchell says it also puts the community leaders in Kossuth County in a tough spot, as they will now have to adjust their budgets.

Many were caught off guard by the news that library funding was being cut by nearly $200,000, as the idea was not brought up during recent budget discussions where the Supervisors cut nearly $1 Million from various county departments. It wasn’t until late last week that library officials learned of the reduction in funding, something Supervisor Carter Nath labeled a mistake.

The Supervisors held a Special Session on February 22nd in which the only agenda item listed was “Budget Planning and Review”. The minutes for that meeting indicate it started at 8AM and concluded just after 10AM, but only notes that a budget discussion was held, and does not specify any items discussed, and KLGA News was unable to find any video from the meeting on February 22nd. Board Chairman Kyle Stecker says funding libraries at their current level would be unsustainable without further budget reductions in other areas.

Stecker says the funding could possibly be restored in the next fiscal year if certain cuts are approved.

The board did agree to revisit the issue in July but made no promises to those in attendance that the funding would be restored, leaving libraries across the county in limbo.

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