Local politicians have come up with just over $16,000 out of reserve funds to keep the Keremeos library open five days a week. It’s unclear what will happen next year with hours. — Image Credit: File Photo

Local politicians have come up with just over $16,000 out of reserve funds to keep the Keremeos library open five days a week. It’s unclear what will happen next year with hours. — Image Credit: File Photo

Keremeos library to remain open five days a week

Keremeos library to remain open five days a week for at least another year

The Keremeos library will remain open five days a week now that local politicians have decided to use contingency funding to make up the shortfall.

Both Keremeos council and Area B and G directors mwade the decisions in the last week.

The village decided they would take just over $6,000 out of a contingency reserve fund that has about $140,000 in it. That money is set aside generally for one-off projects and emergencies.

Directors from Area B and G will take their portions of funding out of contingency as well.

Money to make up the shortfall for the Keremeos Library was taken out of contingency in 2016 as well.

Combined the village and the areas will pay just over $16,300 to the Okanagan Regional Library Board to keep hours the same.

The ORL presented two options for funding one at about $25,000 split between the three municipalities and one at just over $16,000.

“I’m disappointed we couldn’t get them the full funding,” Area G director George Bush said after the decision was made in a meeting at RDOS last Thursday. “I’d like to see the province step up.”

The $16,300 means there will be no staffing or hours open cuts made at the library but there will be some programming changes most likely, and an automated self checkout system might be installed to help free up staff time.

Mayor Manfred Bauer said the next step will be to lobby the provincial government for changes to the funding model for rural libraries.

“We’ll be talking after the election to whoever is in power to refocus them on the funding of libraries,” he said.

The issue of the library funding took several twists and turns during the last two years.

A tax requisition bylaw failed during the assent process earlier this year that would have seen the library become a line item on local tax bills.

A motion was made to enter into a referendum on the issue, which would have cost $3,500 per polling station, but it did not meet legislation requirements as Area G director Elef Christensen voted against.

A funding report done in 2014 by the ORL outlined that several branches under its umbrella were being subsidized by taxpayers in other areas. The ORL redirected funding to the respective areas but continued some additional funding to the Keremeos library to help with the increased traffic in the summer months.

If funding had not been found it would have meant the library was only open four days and a reduction in staff hours.