Waterloo has concerns about funding popular public library

November 21, 2018

WATERLOO -- The 2019 city of Waterloo annual budget and the appropriation of necessary funds to the city of Waterloo were approved by the Waterloo Common Council during Thursday’s regular council meeting. The approved budget includes a levy distributed across the governmental funds totaling $1,985,716 with the general fund at $832,879, the Waterloo Fire and EMS at $271,917, the parks department at $84,000, debt service at $456,920, capital projects at $140,000 and the Karl Junginger Memorial Library at $200,000.

Concerns regarding a $21,400 cut to the KJM Library budget were brought before the council during a public hearing held prior to the regular council meeting.

“I really think as a community we are foolish to take money away from what is the great equalizer in our community. Anyone can use the library at no cost,” Waterloo resident Angela Byers-Krantz said in regard to the proposed KJM Library budget.

Lee Fiedorowicz expressed his concerns with the proposed KJM Library budget cut noting that he knew Karl Junginger and that he never intended for the library to be a burden to the city of Waterloo.

“I think it’s a dirty shame that we have to take so much from the library,” Fiedorowicz said adding that the KJM Library has generated many of its own funds over the years.

KJM Library director Kelli Mountford provided the council statistics on the 2017 library operations.

“In 2017, we had 43,219 people walk through the (library) doors. They checked out over 45,288 physical materials -- not electronic -- physical books, videos and audio materials. They used the internet computers 4,823 times and WiFi 4,457 times. We had a total number of 397 programs in the year 2017 with an attendance of over 6,000 people,” Mountford said.

Concerns regarding possible library hour reductions and employee hour and program cuts were also expressed during the public hearing.

“I don’t want the cuts to be to anybody, but we just don’t have a choice and I have yet to hear anybody say where we can come up with the money,” Alderwoman Jeni Quimby said prior to the 2019 city of Waterloo annual budget approval.

In other business, Mayor Robert Thompson noted that volunteers are needed for the Waterloo Fire and EMS Departments and for city of Waterloo commission and board committee positions.

The Waterloo/Marshall Holiday Parade will be held on Dec. 8 at 4:30 p.m. and will begin at the Waterloo High School and conclude at Waterloo Firemen’s Park. Pictures with Santa Claus, free cookies, milk, hot chocolate and coffee and a 50/50 raffle and auction will be held in the upper pavilion at Waterloo Firemen’s Park at the conclusion of the parade. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Marshall/Waterloo Food Pantry.

In other business, the council:

-- Approved the Nov. 1 regular meeting minutes.

-- Tabled the Oct. 4 and Nov. 1 closed session meeting minutes.

-- Tabled a resolution to enter into a land lease agreement that would allow for the installation of a telecommunications tower in Waterloo Firemen’s Park with a recurring lease revenue that would benefit the Waterloo Parks Department.

-- Approved a payroll of $66,764.86 for the month of October.

-- Approved general distributions for the month of October in the amount of $ 1,014,742.51.

-- Approved the treasurer and budget reports for the month of October.

-- Approved a winter on-street parking permit application for Sarah Schneider.

All council members were present and the next regular council meeting is scheduled for Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. at city hall.

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