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The Springfield Board of Mayor and Aldermen are proposing a $30,000 decrease in the budget for the Stokes Brown Public Library.

In shaping the Springfield budget for Fiscal Year 2020, requested funds from the Stokes Brown Public Library have decreased by nearly $15,000 with the city since the budget’s first reading, which adds up to nearly a $30,000 cut when matched with the county’s planned donation. 

The increase in funds the library had requested for next year would have provided a slight increase in salaries for the library’s employees and moving one part-time employee into a full-time position, according to Library Director Chris Hall.

“While I understand the need for conservative budgets, it is quite disappointing for our staff,” Hall said. “The average pay for our library clerks is $8.79 an hour. This requested increase would have allowed us to increase the average to $9.86 an hour. The average pay for library clerks in libraries of comparable size, per population served, is $11.35 an hour. It is quite a discrepancy and shows our staff is quite underpaid.”

The majority of the library’s budget is used for salaries and benefits, according to Hall.

“Our employees are not city or county employees and there are discussions to change that in order to provide better benefits at a lower cost,” Hall said. “Ninety-percent of our requested increase was to be used for salaries and benefits.”

The largest expense in the general government expenses section of the Springfield proposed budget included $458,540 for the annual contract with the library.

The Stokes Brown Public Library is a joint venture between the City of Springfield and Robertson County. Both entities own and operate the facility.

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, Springfield City Manager Gina Holt said she and Robertson County Mayor Billy Vogle met with Hall to review the library funding requested.   

By agreeing to lower the request, the new proposed increase of salaries for the library staff were reduced, according to Hall.

“After meeting with her, we came up with a negotiated amount to decrease it by $14,600,” Holt said. “That would be $14,600 for the city and $14,600 for the county.”

As the planned city budget for Springfield heads into its third and final vote, the expenditures have slightly increased, just under $3,500 from its initial presentation to the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

At the Tuesday, June 18 meeting of the Springfield Board of Mayor and Aldermen, city leaders approved the second vote of the ordinance adopting the annual budget and tax rate for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019 and running through June 30, 2020.

Before the first reading of the budget was passed in May, the board approved changing a public affairs coordinator position from six months to a full year, amending the budget draft that included a $31,000 increase.

RTA bus service

Last week, the board approved three additional amendments, including an increase for the RTA bus service the city helps to provide for people who commute to Nashville.

The budget draft had slated $10,000 be provided for the service, but Holt said that figure was too low.

“The contract is actually for $15,000,” Holt said. “That needs to be increased by $5,000.”

The daily bus service to Nashville once received $48,000 a year from the city of Springfield, but had been scaled back for the past two years.

Springfield/Robertson County Emergency Communications Center

Another amendment approved dealt with dispatch services.

Due to a decrease in the amount of calls in Springfield, a decrease of $18,019 in funding was made in the city’s proposed budget.

In total, with all four amendments approved since the budget draft was first proposed, the net increase is $3,381.

The total funds budgeted for revenue in the draft for the General Fund and all of the city’s utilities is $86,077,200, with the expenditures projected to be $86,138,188. 

There is no property tax increase proposed for next year. The rate will remain at $1.072 per $100 of taxable assessed value.

The second reading of the ordinance adopting the annual budget and tax rate for Fiscal Year 2020 passed unanimously 6-0. Alderman Tim Harris was absent.

The third and final reading for the budget is scheduled to take place at Springfield City Hall on Thursday, June 27 at noon.

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