TOWNSEND -- Sunday hours at the library during the winter may be a thing of the past even though the staff, trustees and patrons loved having the extra opening times.
The Sunday staff hours are needed to augment the crew during the regular opening hours. There are just too many people coming through the doors, Library Director Stacy Schuttler told the Finance Committee on March 28.
"I'm saying we're flat out," she said. Circulation numbers have risen each year since moving to the new facility in 2009.
A private donor funded the Sunday hours for three years before the town assumed responsibility, she said.
The office supplies line item was cut $2,400 last year when the school override failed. Staffing hours did not change, Schuttler said.
The proposed changes will make it easier to provide coverage when employees are out on vacation or sick leave. Right now, several part-time employees are only able to work certain days. Others are close to the number of hours they can work before benefits kick in, Schuttler said.
The library has applied for a grant through the Library Services and Technology Act to hire someone to staff the teen room in the afternoons during the school year. "It's a mad, mad world after school," Schuttler said. Sometimes as many as 60 students show up in the library when school is released.
The guidelines for the grant are very specific. The library would have two years to use the money and evaluate the project, she said. There is a one-in-three chance Townsend will receive the award.
The Finance Committee questioned the viability of the position. Creating a program that could become an ongoing need the town would need to fund in the future is not an honest endeavor, committee member Andrea Wood said.
The committee does not want to see a successful program come in that will need money the town does not have to keep running, committee member Carolyn Smart said.
"Perhaps I spoke too caustically. Let us know in the budget if this will be ongoing," Wood said.
"I will certainly be clear in what my intention is," Schuttler said. The town will need to increase the library budget in future years to maintain certification. That increase could possibly be used towards funding someone to be in the teen room.
"There are students there after school. If the town wants to pay a 10-hour after-school position, that would be great," Schuttler said.
The Finance Committee also reviewed the Highway Department's budget. Committee member Gini King reported to the committee as a whole.
There are no increases in the operating budget, but Ed Kukkula, the superintendent, said that he might need to request a reserve fund transfer later in the year for painting lines on Wallace Hill and Proctor Roads. Residents requested the new lines as a safety measure after a pedestrian was struck and killed, King said. About $3,000 worth of work remains to be done on the project.
The union negotiations and perhaps a new contract for Kukkula were still not resolved, Wood said, leaving part of the Highway Department budget unknown.
The committee also approved another $30,000 in deficit spending on snow and ice removal for the department. The total deficit spending approved so far this year is $180,000 and it has not all been used, Wood said.