Grand Forks Library Wants To Raise Property Taxes

Grand Forks Smiley Water Tower

Greedy is as Greedy does. Readers from the last year or so will recall that I did quite a few stories on the Grand Forks library. Most of that was to support opposition to their plan to build themselves and unneeded palace that I dubbed the Library Mahal. But I also did some stories on the efforts of the library director to portray the library as underfunded and the library staff as underpaid. Both are untrue then and they are more untrue today.

Today’s Grand Forks Herald has the story about them up to the same old tricks.

The Grand Forks Public Library introduced a plan Tuesday to bring its employee wages up to comparable market standard over the next four years.

The plan, submitted at a city Budget Work Session, would spend about $335,000 over the course of the plan, funded using library cash reserves and a one-mill tax increase….

The library has received the same mill allotment for the last 20 years, according to Library Director Wendy Wendt, who presented the proposed 2013 budget to the council.

Wendy Wendt is deceiving the public by saying the “mill rate” has been the same for 20 years. That makes it sound like the library hasn’t gotten any funding increase for 20 years. Nothing could be further from the truth. In 2002 the funding for the library was $1,156,928. According to page 152 of the city’s budget on their website the funding for the library is $2,526,578 dollars. Adjusted for inflation the 2002 budget is worth only $1,475,762. That means the library has more than a million dollars MORE in inflation adjusted funding this year than in 2002. In other words they have 72% more funding after inflation.

We have been FAR more than generous in our funding but the library director wants us to believe that the library has been neglected. One wonders where the money has gone. They haven’t been spending this additional million dollars a year on updating the building.

The library director is claiming that somehow the library staff is underpaid. Well according to city’s budget their spending on personnel went up $364,478 from 2010. That’s a whopping 33% increase in salaries and benefits over only two years.

Now the library director is saying that they’re underpaid and demands that we give ANOTHER $335,000 in raises.

And the librarians are very well paid. Here’s a post with the 2010 salary data. You can see that most of the money goes to the full time staff and they make very good money. Remember though, these are the 2010 salaries. Since then they’ve gotten 33% more funding for salaries and benefits.

The library director is being very misleading in her claims that the library is underfunded and the library staff is underpaid. But that’s not a surprise. Last year the library director gave outdated data to the Grand Forks City Council in order to win herself another raise. The library had gotten a raise in 2010. In 2011 the library director gave the pre-raise 2010 wage data to the City Council to justify another raise. In a just world the library director would have been fired. She wasn’t and she’s back trying to mislead us to get more money for herself.

I'm a Grand Forks native and alumni of North Dakota. I want to be Rob Port when I grow up.

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