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Library system requests $60,000 increase to 2023 budget

The Stutsman County Commission met Tuesday, June 21.

JSSP Stutsman County News
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JAMESTOWN – James River Valley Library System Director Joe Rector asked the Stutsman County Commission to increase the library system’s budget by $60,000 on Tuesday, June 21.

The commission took no action on the request.

Commissioner Ramone Gumke was absent from the meeting.

The James River Valley Library System Board of Directors approved a proposed budget for 2023 at its meeting on June 15 that includes a $60,000 increase from Stutsman County. The county commission reduced the library system’s budget by that amount in August 2021.

Rector told the county commission the library system has struggled with the decrease in its budget.

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He said the $60,000 budget cut also affected how much the library system received in state aid.

“Because of the loss of revenue from last year, in 2023 we are not going to qualify for approximately $20,000 in state aid,” Rector said. “The same will go on for the next three years, so $60,000 in state aid will not be qualified for unless the funding stream increases and meets the average of the previous three years, then we will qualify again.”

He said the city of Jamestown provides 15 mills to the library system while Stutsman County provides 2.05 mills. He said Stutsman County provided 4 mills when the library system started providing joint library services, although the actual dollar amount never declined prior to the county’s budget cut in 2021.

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The shared expense for the bookmobile is $19,200, which is an 80-20 county-city split. He said the city gets benefits from the bookmobile as well and needs to be responsible for some of the maintenance and insurance and saving for a new bookmobile.

Rector said Stutsman County is an estimated $38,200 in the hole for the services that are currently being provided. He said the amount is covered by the city.

“The city maintained its revenue stream last year,” he said.

If the library system does not get the $60,000 increase to its 2023 budget, Rector said there could be potential reductions in service, including reducing the number of bookmobile routes.

Mark Klose, commission chair, asked Rector if there has been any discussion or thoughts on what will happen if there is not a memorandum of agreement between Stutsman County and the city of Jamestown for joint library services.

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Rector said it isn’t up to the library board and the county will have to work out the agreement with the city. He said it will be important to have an agreement between the city and county that sets a reasonable level of funding that each entity will provide to the library system.

Central Valley Health District Unit Administrator Robin Iszler also requested an increase to the health district’s proposed budget for 2023. Iszler made a request of $586,470 to Central Valley Health’s budget, an increase of more than $40,000 from 2022.

She said the staff is the largest expense with 21 full-time employees and 24 total staff members. She said additional staff was hired this year, including an environmental health practitioner, a new nurse and support staff for health promotions. She said the 2023 budget includes a 3% cost-of-living raise.

Iszler said a 10% increase in the cost of health insurance is expected and Central Valley Health will get less federal funding because COVID funds will go away.

With a county allocation of $586,740 in 2023, she said she expects Central Valley Health to bring in more than $2 million in federal grants back into the community.

The county commission took no action on the requests. The county commission has begun its budget process for 2023.

In other business, the county commission:

  • unanimously approved Stutsman County’s share of South Central Dakota Regional Council’s dues request. The Regional Council requested more than $36,400 total from the Jamestown City Council and Stutsman County Commission that will come from the Economic Development Fund. The funds will be distributed with a 63-37 city-county split.
  • heard a report from Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser who said it would cost $6,700 to get electricity, rural water and internet service to a proposed storage building near the existing Stutsman County park shop. Kaiser said the costs could be about $3,000 less if the Stutsman County Park Board shop, the Marina and storage building are connected to Dakota Central’s internet service.
Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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