Jaffrey Budget Committee rejects library budget request

  • Jaffrey Public Library

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/14/2022 12:54:32 PM
Modified: 1/14/2022 12:53:39 PM

Jaffrey Library Director Julie Perrin said cuts may have to be made to programs or staff after the library’s initial funding request was trimmed by the Jaffrey Budget Committee Jan. 12.

By a 4-2 vote, committee members rejected the budget of approximately $350,796 submitted by Perrin and library trustees, about a 6 percent increase. Instead, they supported the Select Board’s $340,000 proposal for the library budget, a 3% increase.

Franklin Sterling, the Select Board representative on the budget board, said selectmen were trying to keep the budget as a whole within a 3 percent increase and felt that was perfectly adequate for the library to perform its services. The Select Board’s suggested budget did not specify where cuts should be made, only what the bottom line should be.

Appearing via Zoom, Perrin and members of the trustees objected, saying the budget increases this year are mainly due to fixed costs such as the cost of heating and electricity

“Inflation is just higher,” Perrin said. “Our electricity usage is down, but the rates are such that cost are still higher.”

Perrin said the library was open more hours than ever before, had vastly increased its digital services and usage of the library was up. 

“We have definitely demonstrated value to the community throughout this global health crisis,” Perrin said.

When asked where the library would trim its budget, if it did not receive the total original amount requested, Perrin said it would come from either programs or staff.

“From my perspective, it does become a risk for services,” Perrin said. “There are certain things I can’t change. I can’t change how much it costs to keep the lights on. I can’t change how much it costs to keep the heat on. At some point, what gets cut it services.”  

Perrin said she routinely applies for and receives grants for the library, but generally to support an existing or new program, and that they do not cover the “nuts and bolts” of the day-to-day operation.

Trustee Grace Flesher said the majority of the trusts that support the library are limited in both what the funds can be used for, and – with the exception of one – that only the interest can be used. Typically, the trusts have been used to support the building itself, including cleaning and landscaping services, as well as emergency repairs and restoration.

The entire budget, including the library budget, is scheduled to be reviewed at the town’s budget hearing, scheduled for Feb. 5 at 9 a.m., at the Jaffrey Fire Station, with an option to attend by Zoom.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT. 


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