Library Group asks Millinocket Town Council not to cut entire library budget | News
MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Millinocket Town Council has decided to put some money back into the town budget for the public library.
The budget they took up late Thursday afternoon included more than $200,000 in cuts. The largest share of the proposed cuts, about $80,000 was the entire yearly budget for the public library. That money pays the staff and keeps the lights on for 15 hours each week.
Members of the Friends of the Millinocket Memorial Library offered a compromise. They aksed the town to contribute $30,000 which they would need to match with $30,000. They've collected $20,000 so far.
"To me it's the heart of the community. for me it's very emotional," explained Bernie Friel, a member of the Friends of Millinocket Memorial Library.
Chet York, another member of the Friends group sees it as a tool to attract people and investment, which the town desperately needs.
"Time and again we hear from other librarians that people who consider moving into a town and the first place they come to is the library. They want to know does the town have a library," said York.
NEWS CENTER was unable to reach Millinocket town manager Harold Davis or the town council president Richard Angotti for comment about the budget, but Charles Buki, the president of CZB associates, the economic development firm that put together an economic analysis for the town in January did offer some professional opinion.
He didn't want to weigh in on whether the town should or shouldn't cut the library budget, but he did say that if they do, they need to reinvest the money into the downtown instead of returning it to taxpayers.
Jim Bozeman, a member of the Friends of Millinocket Memorial Library said the town council made it clear this was a one year payment and that the friends group would have to figure out a long term plan.
Bozeman said the plan is to keep the library operating for the same days and hours, but they will not be able to pay the salary for a full time librarian and will need to find a part time employee instead.