Okanagan Regional Library budget impacts taxpayers

The Okanagan Regional Library board adopted a $16.6 million budget for 2013 Wednesday...

It’s going to cost more to operate libraries.

The Okanagan Regional Library board adopted a $16.6 million budget for 2013 Wednesday, a 3.35 per cent increase, or $538,103, over this year.

“It was a big struggle to get the budget approved,” said Mike Macnabb, a director from the Regional District of North Okanagan.

“Some wanted zero per cent and I’m not sure we could have provided services with that.”

The finance committee originally recommended a 3.7 per cent increase in the budget, but some adjustments were made to get to 3.35 per cent.

“Any cuts more than that would affect services. Nobody wanted to cut services,” said Catherine Lord, a director from Vernon.

Much of the hike is directly related to employee salaries, including a new contract with the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Looking at the impact on Vernon taxpayers, Lord says she is satisfied the budget is not too onerous.

“The increase is about $1.35 per person. I felt we could live with that,” she said.

“There are tough times out there but costs are going up.”

An additional $4,000 in taxes will be coming from Armstrong as a result of the ORL budget.

“They (board) did as good as they could but it’s still pretty high,” said Ron O’Sullivan, Armstrong’s voice at ORL.

“I would have liked it to be a little lower.”

The 2013 budget includes $130,000 for the collection, including both books and web-based material.

One new Internet technician position will be added and reserve funds will be used in 2013 for replacing ORL’s telephone system and replacing software. There is also $10,000 for training staff to deal with new technology.