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Check from county ends short-term library crisis

Kay Sappington, director of the Union County Library, is shown receiving a check Monday morning from Union County Administrator Terry Johnson. The check for $38,428.26 ended the short-term financial crisis the library faced. The problem of longer term funding for the library remains unresolved.

A “manual check” for $38,428.26 to the Union County Library ended the short-term financial crisis the library board faced last week.

The money came from property tax collections received during February by the county collector’s office. The check was presented to Kay Sappington, director of the library system, during the Monday morning, Feb. 22nd, meeting of the Union County Board of Supervisors.

However, according to J. Lynn West, chairman of the library board, the cuts in library hours of operation announced last week will continue in effect. “We’re glad to have received the check from the county, but it does not solve the long-term problem of not having enough money to operate the library. Full hours of operation and routine acquisition of news books will still not be possible until some way can be found to increase funding for the library on a permanent basis.”

While costs of library operation have increased during recent years, funding from the state of Mississippi has actually decreased. Funding of the public library by the county government has increased during the recent years, but not by enough to cover the short fall in state funding and the increased operational expenses.

West said he believed the members of the county Board of Supervisors are sympathetic to the needs of the library and are seeking ways to improve its financial condition.

New Albany Mayor Tim Kent has said that he and the city’s board of aldermen are also searching for ways the city government can give increased support  to the library.

In other business Monday morning the Board of Supervisors heard from Wesley Bell of the Three Rivers Planning and Development District regarding work being done on the building being prepared for the operations of Emerald Manufacturing Company. The board approved contracts for work on Phase  2 of the work on the Emerald Building.

The board received and reviewed requests for payment of 13 fees to the county medical examiner. Payment  of the fees was approved.

The board approved a lease agreement with attorney Mason Wages under which Wages will lease the county-owned building at 110 East Main Street for $600 per month. The building was previously occupied by Chancery Court Judge Talmadge Littlejohn who died last year.

For more information and local reaction to the library difficulties, see:

Opinion: The Library is in Dire Straits

Library cuts hours

Opinion: “Well, I Reckon”

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