Board considers adding lost library hours

Measure reopens all branches Monday, Stafford on Sunday for a year

A resolution restoring Monday hours at all Washington County Library branches and opening the county’s Woodbury flagship library on Sunday to a one-year trial next year will be considered Tuesday by the County Board of Commissioners.

The WCL proposes re-opening five of its six branches from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays. The Valley branch in Lakeland would open from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday. In addition, the R.H. Stafford branch would open from 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays for at least part of 2013.

“Stafford Library will be closed on Sundays during the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day under this pilot project,” said an administration summary to the board.

Opening WCL branches on Monday will cost about $260,000, according to WCL and county administrators. Opening Stafford on Sundays will cost an additional $24,000.

WCL branches were closed Sundays and Mondays beginning Jan. 2 in response to budget issues and the Lake Elmo City Council’s decision to leave the WCL system and set up a city-run library, taking with it a $250,000 portion of the library’s levy.

The administration summary said the money to open the county’s libraries on Monday comes from the combination of increased revenue in the Property Records and Taxpayer Services Department and delaying a technology project.

“The remaining $24,000 will come from additional PRTS revenue based on updated revenue estimates for 2013,” the summary adds.

WCL Executive Director Pat Conley first proposed re-opening WCL branches on Monday during an Aug. 14 budget workshop. She said her goal was an acceptable and affordable proposal to commissioners.

The county’s library board agreed with Conley’s proposal at its meeting Monday and county commissioners indicated their support for the systemwide Monday openings and Sunday hours at Stafford at a Tuesday workshop.

The only other action item on the board’s agenda is approval of a $269,000 “Toward Zero Deaths” grant from the state Department of Public Safety.

The grant reimburses the Sheriff’s Office overtime costs associated with helping the DPS with saturation patrols that are part of the TZD program. The funds cover overtime accrued by the Sheriff’s Office and police departments in Stillwater, Bayport, Oak Park Heights, Woodbury, Forest Lake, Cottage Grove and St. Paul Park.

The Sheriff’s Office acts as the fiscal agent for the grant and budget amendments will be presented to commissioners when grant expenses and revenues are known.

Following the board’s regular meeting, commissioners hold a workshop with department heads to review the next steps following a July 9 planning session.

The county board meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the fifth floor boardroom at the County Government Center in Stillwater. The meeting is open to the public.