Library requests additional funding from county

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Don Crews requested on behalf of the McIver's Grant Public Library that the county increase its support of the library by $25,000. Crews explained that the additional funding will help pay for a new coordinator of circulation/references, which will be an essential position once the new library is opened at the end of this year.

The Dyer County Budget Committee entered its third week of budget review as the McIver's Public Grant Library, the Soil Conservation Fund and the sheriff's department all presented their budgets on Tuesday morning. This year all county departments have come in person to present their funding requests, even if they remained unchanged from the previous year, in order to give commissioners an opportunity to ask questions and seek clarifications on certain budget items. The current state of the county finances is forcing commissioners to evaluate every dollar that is being spent and what it is being spent on.

"To add any more funds is going to be tough," said Commissioner Benny Spain, who is serving his first term as chairman of the budget committee. "We are going to have to prioritize and see what is in the best interest of the county."

The McIver's Public Grant Library brought a large board contingent with them as it requested an increase in their funding from the county in order to hire an additional full-time position. The new library will require a coordinator of circulation/references, which according to Don Crews, the city of Dyersburg has already pledged to pay $35,000.

"The money that the county is currently contributing is not enough to operate the library," said Crews.

Crews asked that the county fund the remaining balance of the additional position, which amounts to $25,000. He said that it is the intention of the board to continue fundraising for the library even after the new building was completed at the end of this year. However, Crews reported that the library could not use revenue from fundraising efforts to fund salaries due to restrictions in state law.

"Our library is an investment in the quality of life in our community," said board member Katie Winchester. "We make things available to people in our community who do not otherwise have the resources."

Bob Harrington, who made the presentation on behalf of the library board, reported to the committee that the board has raised nearly $2.2 million of the expected $2.8 million it will cost to complete the new building. The new library will not only require additional staff but it will also require more circulation as the current library only has about half the books it needs for a community the size of Dyer County.

The library was not the only department looking for additional funding on Tuesday as the Soil Conservation Fund asked the county to consider funding one-third of the salary for a second full-time employee. According to Tommy Rice, chairman of the Soil Conservation Committee, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service have already agreed to each fund one-third of the new salary.

"There is quite a bit of money available for soil conservation," said Rice. "Dyer County usually ends up with more money than any other county in the state but we need another employee to help us with our workload."

Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box, far right, presented the law enforcement budget to the budget committee on Tuesday morning. Box's budget contains no significant changes in comparison to the previous year. Box says the sheriff's department is trying to provide more services to the residents without increasing funding by being more efficient.

The new employee would help landowners perform surveying and design work on conservation practices as well as serve as a community outreach position and educate residents about the importance of soil conservation. According to Mark Dorsett, district conservationist employed by the USDA, Dyer County is one of seven counties in West Tennessee that only funds one position for soil conservation with every other county funding at least two positions and in some cases, three positions.

"We are missing out on some money (that could be reinvested back into the county) because we do not have this position," said Dorsett.

The only department not to ask for an increase in funding on Tuesday was the sheriff's department. After the Law Enforcement Committee approved the budgets on Monday, May 14, Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box presented the budgets for the sheriff's department, litter grant, drug fund and jail to the budget committee for their review.

"We are finding new ways to provide more services with the same money," said Box. "Although there are certain things that cost us more money that we have to have, we are trying to operate more efficiently."

Commissioner Jim Horner asked Box about the possibility of working with the Dyersburg dispatch center and contracting with them for dispatches. Box responded that it is something that has been looked at in the past and it is something he is open to as long as county and deputy service does not suffer.

Box presented a department budget that remained unchanged, but presented a jail budget that was $20,000 less than the previous year.

"The jail is running as efficiently as it has ever run," said Box. "We are cutting the fat out every year."

The budget committee will review the Debt Service Fund on Wednesday followed by the county education budget on Thursday. All meetings begin at 9 a.m. and are held in the lower-level conference room of the Dyer County Courthouse.

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  • If the community has contributed 2.2 million to build a new library and the city has pledged to fund salaries necessary for operating this community asset and one that will be a piece of our recruiting efforts, how can the county not fund the additional 25,000. We need to support the effort to keep "reading and learning available to all citizens" as a priority now and for the future.

    -- Posted by Educated observer on Wed, May 16, 2012, at 2:09 PM
  • The government needs to raise your taxes so you will be able to fund every government program.

    -- Posted by Ben Wilson on Wed, May 16, 2012, at 2:18 PM
  • They also have to figure in the salary for a new director of the library, since they've now taken that position away from Ms. Sharon. They are going to have to pay someone much more than she was paid.

    -- Posted by justme30 on Wed, May 16, 2012, at 3:42 PM
  • And as it has been discussed in the past.. County residents WOULD suffer if 911 was consolidated.. The Police Department suffers already with the EOC. The County has established 7 positions to staff the Sheriff's Office dispatch office.. If the offices consolidated the positions would not be eliminated.. cant take away positions.. and the EOC would have to hire more dispatchers to take care of the additional call load and the Sheriff's office would still have to keep people on hand to answer the phones around the clock.. That is a wish Mark Grant has always had so he could be over it all.. Big mistake, Mr Horner

    -- Posted by time2change on Wed, May 16, 2012, at 5:12 PM
  • Let's put it on the line once and for all. The county does not have the needed resources, namely any people with a formal education to manage what they have. They will sit on the hospital money until the second coming and all the time let their facilities fall into disrepair while priding themselves on not raising taxes so they can maintain their positions. Maybe one day we can have elected county officials that have some vision and mental capacity like the city does to be able to see farther than the current week. I rest my case.

    -- Posted by coldhardtruth on Wed, May 16, 2012, at 5:32 PM
  • I totally agreed with you until you got to the part about city officials having vision and mental capacity. But you are right!!

    -- Posted by time2change on Wed, May 16, 2012, at 6:03 PM
  • Why is it that "The Current state of the county finances is forcing commissioners to evaluate every dollar that is being spent and what it is being spent on." Has it not always been their job to make sure the taxpayers money is spent wisely and only on what is necessary to run the county government. If the commissioners have not been performing that duty in the past the District Attorney needs to look into filing charges for misapproriation of public funds.

    -- Posted by Dont Tread On Me on Thu, May 17, 2012, at 12:47 AM
  • if you cant build it for 2.2 million in the first place something is wrong. spending to much already

    -- Posted by jc in dyersburg on Thu, May 17, 2012, at 6:12 AM
  • This is a grand project that should have not been started when money is so tight.Let the planners pay for it.

    -- Posted by jms58 on Thu, May 17, 2012, at 7:40 AM
  • Time2change, apparently the city has quite a bit of vision as for the first time the City of Dyersburg has a real IT Director, vs the last one. Just ask the city employees. Maybe sour grapes on your part ?

    By the way, what are you doing now? How has that worked out for ya?

    -- Posted by ukwildcats on Thu, May 17, 2012, at 8:46 AM
  • Time2change

    You really should have all the facts before you make a total fool of yourself.

    Your problem is with Mark Grant and the City of Dyersburg, which tells a lot about your sour grapes and we all know why.

    Mark Grant will tell you that he really does not want to consolidate 911 because of the political fighting and battles that would occur between everyone.

    Mark would also tell you that regardless of his opinion, it is a no brainier that it would save several hundred thousands of dollars, as supported by a independent study conducted by a consultant 10 years ago.

    Regardless, Jim Horner made a good observation. Just when will the political leaders of a small 40,000 population county come together and stop doing things the same ole way every year. There are ways to fix the funding problems, and meet the needs of everyone. The problem is, the solution is a difficult a pill for some to swallow.

    You just cannot continue to fund duplicated government services. Even a 5th grader knows better than to pay for the same piece of candy twice.

    -- Posted by ukwildcats on Thu, May 17, 2012, at 9:57 AM
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