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Monday, March 13, 2017

Mayor Proposes City Take Control of Library Operations

Fairhope, Alabama





2017 BUDGET PROPOSAL

During her 2017 budget proposal presentation to the city council last week, mayor Wilson proposed the city take control of library operations to save about $118K per year.

Currently, the library is its own entity, separate from the city, governed by a Library Board appointed under state law but funded primarily by city taxpayers through yearly appropriations: it has requested $858K from the city this year.

By bringing it under the city and running it as another department instead, duplication of administrative and other services (ie. janitorial, copier maintenance, etc.) would bring that down to about $586K for a savings of $168K.

Benefits for library employees would improve as well if they joined the general workforce, according to the mayor.

The library would keep all of its current sources of revenue, late-fees, donations from Friend of the Library, etc., (about $75K/year) and she is proposing adding another $50k to that from city coffers this year.

LIBRARY BOARD OPPOSED

According to liaison Councilman Conyers, the current library board "adamantly opposes" the change; when asked about it by a Times reporter, one board member questioned the city's ability to operate it effectively.

The city owns and maintains the building; the library board supervises operations only.

A library board is needed to qualify for certain state/federal grants as well: about $7K last year.

We asked the mayor, councilmen Burrell and Conyers for further comments but they have yet to respond.

The city council will have to approve any changes.

(Engineering firm Goodwyn, Mills and Caywood is currently evaluating the building's leaking roof, peeling stucco and other chronic issues: repair estimates we have heard range from $300K - 700K. Those are the city's responsibility on top of all other costs.)


2017 Budget presentation

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

If it wil save that much it ought to be a no brainer even for this city council.

Anonymous said...

A library takeover, wanting a pay raise and city employees firings that are not " transparent"? How will she surprise us next?

Anonymous said...

I agree. It makes sense for the city to run anything for which it bears financial responsibility. It looks as if Kant and the former city council were philanthropists with taxpayer funds! The city needs to get a grip on these 'gifts'. The Library is great and appears to be well managed but we can save money by putting it beneath the city's umbrella of staff/services.

Hank said...

So the city is willing to give the library an additional 50K in funding for being under city control, but this will disqualify them for a 7K grant. The math doesn't add up to make it worth keeping the board. Maybe have an advisory panel to the city to represent the library, but this sounds like welcome change. We can certainly save some money.

Anonymous said...

Look at the numbers. There is no way she can save as much as she is proposing. Not without cutting staff and risking the loss of major funding such as State Aid and overall her numbers don't add up.

Anonymous said...

The library board will fight to stay in power despite and possible cost savings. Sadly the members of these city boards enjoy the power and control they wield way too much to willingly give up third positions despite significant cost savings for tax payers.

Anonymous said...

Could this pose a conflict of interest, since the mayor own the main bookstore in town? Perhaps that is why the Library board is so opposed to this.

Anonymous said...

If this happens, the Library shouldn't keep the Board anyway. Like someone posted earlier, members of city boards only care about their titles. They only care about their cause when it's time for a photo opportunity.

Hope Mayor Wilson brings this to fruition and it's done the right way.

The Library doesn't even have their own Human Resources department.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? Someone believes that there is a conflict of interest between the library and the bookstore?
Get a grip! This is all about saving money for the city; as it is now, the city pays our tax dollars to the library and its board is not voted in. We should not fund anything that the city does not control Let the Library Board find some other source of funding or let the City manage it. Looks like there may be some high admin salaries at the Library that are not necessary.

Anonymous said...

Myy be she just wants to fire everybody there too and hire her friends and relatives instead.

Anonymous said...

"Looks like there may be some high admin salaries at the library that are not necessary."

Maybe that's something the city should check into

Anonymous said...

Anyone, including the town's mayor, that threatens Fairhope city jobs, even when it can save taxpayers huge money, is treated as the enemy. It is becoming very clear that nothing is more important in Fairhope than preserving all the city jobs that way too many folks in Fairhope count on as permanent positions to be passed down to family members and friends. Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Really? You truly believe that EVERY member of EVERY city board is only concerned about their titles? That is ridiculous! We moved to Fairhope from another state and ennoy the facilities and programs offered by Fairhope's Recreation, Library and other volunteer boards. I appreciate the effort, work and countless hours that fellow citizens have put in unpaid (and obviously unappreciated ) board positions. You can't please everyone all the time and personalitites and ideologies will clash but please...don't "throw the baby out with the bath water". Fairhope has been and will continue to be a wonderful community!!

Anonymous said...

Obviously someone doesn't think our precious little Fairhope is full of corrupt politicians...Wake up, honey! This isn't Mayberry.

Anonymous said...

Get the local architectural firm to pay for all the repairs. They are all due to their design flaws !!This has been an ongoing problem.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the architect was best buddies with Kant and the Council…….Fairhope is the laughing stock of the country over these issues. City Hall AND the Library falling down after our very own approved/endorsed/hired all! Thank heaven that the brilliant GOOBERS have been marginalized……if we could only get Boone & Burrell to Atmore, life would be good.

Anonymous said...

Since we are talking about conflicts of interest. Does the mayor sell any books to the city schools the city gives hundreds of thousands of dollars to?

Actually, this may not be a conflict but it should be disclosed, it's all about transparency, right? And while we are on the subject of transparency, in one of the first meetings with the city council did the mayor question the donation to the Fairhope Sunset Rotary Chapter, didn't she help found this?

Just need full disclosure since we all are now about transparency!

Anonymous said...

If everyone thinks we're having problems, then just look at Gordon, Alabama. These meetings get real ugly, as in physical. It seems the new mayor of Gordon is trying to run the city all by himself and the council is having nothing to do with this.

LOL, sorry guys, it seems like Fairhope is just as all the other cities in Alabama.

I like what was said about transparency - EVERYONE needs to become transparent!

BTW, the council was in executive session for a long time, and on the agenda, it was to discuss ligation and PENDING ligation - uhh - seems we may have more laws suits on our hands. It looks like this administration is in line with previous administrations. lol

Hank said...

"It is becoming very clear that nothing is more important in Fairhope than preserving all the city jobs that way too many folks in Fairhope count on as permanent positions to be passed down to family members and friends. Disgusting"

Well yes, the people that work these "city jobs" help make Fairhope what it is. The road pavers, the electric guys hanging the lights, the garbage men, the flower folks... all dedicated individuals and deserve to be compensated. I know many of these people and they are dedicated to their careers and this beautiful community that we all love. Dedication and talent doesn't come free.

Anonymous said...

Mayor is making appointments to boards without disclosing conflict of interest where some of her appointments are lifelong friends or have relatives that work for her. Not very transparent. Also, how much is she paying the city for the sidewalks she has taken over in front of her business. Looks illegal and like a fire hazard to me.

Anonymous said...

"So the city is willing to give the library an additional 50K in funding for being under city control, but this will disqualify them for a 7K grant."

Yes, because 50 is great than 7.

Where did you go to school???

Anonymous said...

To the Poster who inquired as to where the Fairhope schools purchase books……..are you kidding!!! I doubt if there is a school in the universe that has ever purchased its books from a bookstore in at least half a century! Clearly you are a Kant buddy!

Anonymous said...

Library has 24 employees, where the utilities only have around 20 in there departments. How many people is really needed. 90% are there using the Internet or computers.

Anonymous said...

"To the Poster who inquired as to where the Fairhope schools purchase books……..are you kidding!!!"

No, I am not kidding! It was a simple question, does her bookstore sell any books to any of the organizations that the city donates money! AND no, I don't know Kant, never have met him, but if you are a business owner in Fairhope, and you are in Fairhope administration, then everything that could be or appears to be a conflict needs to be disclosed.

The mayor said herself the lights on the trees benefits her store, that's on video but yet she was the one pushing for 'make the lights great again' when she first took office.

Let us face it, she owns an event center and bookstore downtown, anything that benefits the downtown business district also benefits her. Not saying she is doing anything wrong, she simply needs to disclose and stay out of the decisions making that may benefit her or any of her businesses.

Transparency, right!

Council - city manager government! Start the movement now!

Anonymous said...

wa wa wa Fairhope needs to start selling tissue with their emblem

Anonymous said...

To the poster above, step back, put the coffee down and take a deep breath. There shall be no "movement" in Fairhope other than a movement to get some nice, new restaurants and bars for me to enjoy and spend my money. You see, I'm a little fancy and require the nice things in life because I actually work for a living! If you want to start a movement then how about you move yourself out to California or some other place where "movements" are the norm. We don't do movements in the South.....

Anonymous said...

LOL...How about my family being founding members of the Great State of Alabama all lines except two, and those two were Native-American so this ole person is not going anywhere! But yes, we need to have a movement to move this city to a council-city manager form of government. Then the only politics will be the manager can be fired by a vote of 3 or greater of the council. The manager will carry out the policies and ordinances of the council.

Anonymous said...

I think we all need to remember that it is okay if someone has an opinion that differs from our own.
I thought Fairhope was a community for All. It is a town that thrives on creativity, hospitality and much more.
We limit ourselves when we limit others.
I Can't imagine living in a world that Martin Luther King Jr. didn't start the Civil Rights Movement. There have been and continue to be many movements in the south that speak for up for race relations, equality for All, education,feed the hungry and many more.
So,to suggest that we don't have movements in the South is a misnomer.
To silence others and suggest they "don't fit " the community and should leave is unkind and sets a dangerous precedence.
We should ALL be a part of the solution, not the problem.