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July 2 at the Ute Trail Motel in Hot Sulphur Springs.

Take a deeper look at the finances

Naturally, here in Hot Sulphur Springs, we reacted strongly when we read in the April 22 newspaper that there was a plan by the Grand County Library District (GCLD) to close our library. This news led me to look more closely at how the $2,149,894 library budget is divided. Grand County as a whole, and not just Hot Sulphur Springs should look at how these funds are proposed to be spent.

Some points to consider:

• I appreciate that in a Letter to the Editor of the Sky-Hi News, Jill Miles, former GCLD Trustee, brings up finances. It is true that the proposed mill levy increase in 2013 did not pass. It is also true, as mentioned by GCLD that there has been no increase in the mill levy since the vote to create the Library District in 1994. What is not mentioned is that the 1994 voters never intended their tax money to be spent on $5,950,000 (2015 Auditor's Report) in construction loans. The District was formed to provide for the selection, organization, and distribution of books and other materials to residents and visitors to the District (2015 Auditor's Report).

• Something else to take a look at: If the budget was in such need of increased funds in 2013 why did the library district hire a new full time employee and two part time employees to work in Administration in 2015? Why was there an increase of $84,735 spent on personnel from 2014 to 2015?

• Why is the organization so top heavy with close to half of the budget, after subtracting the $311,863 building debt payment, being spent on Administration?

• In a survey completed in 2014 the tax paying citizens of Grand County responded that they most wanted "more library open hours". GCLD has stated that they are honoring that desire but the budget timeline says otherwise. The "Proposed Timeline for Response to Budget Crisis" presented at the 6-21-16 GCLD Board meeting includes "July 2016 Branch Closure" and "January 2018 Kiosk Model (Juniper and Kremmling)". A close examination at where other cuts could be made in the budget is essential before closing an entire branch of the library and turning two other branches into "kiosks".

Merilyn Hunter

Hot Sulphur Springs