Budget Bummers 2021

I just got back from our Smoky Mountain Spyder trip on Friday night.  Periodically on the trip I would lean over John’s shoulder and say that I was acquiring tons of fodder for future bookworms.  1. First off, why do people feel the need to share awful things with me? (Apparently, caps hide my usual radiating liberal soul.) 2. Pigeon Forge is gross. 3. Gatlinburg is not much better than the before mentioned location.  4. What is up with the shortage of workers and $13 is the new starting wage at fast food restaurants?  5. I love rocks, the ones I found in the river behind our Airbnb and the big ones that mark graves.  At least number 5 had a ring of positivity to it, but I am going to focus on ugly number 4.

It is that time of year to start working on the upcoming year’s budget.  The minimum wage is increasing to $11.15 in 2022, we are not required to meet this requirement, but when you consider the almost 6% cost of living increase for 2021, not being required, does not equal being right.  On our trip we visited multiple restaurants struggling to meet the needs of their customers while being low staffed.  We also observed, the before mentioned job postings offering up to $13 as a starting wage, I of course started thinking about work, the budget and my staff. 

Our current starting salaries are: $20,000 (Circulation Librarians), $22,000 (Children’s Librarian), $25,000 (Assistant Director and $33,000 (Director).  The current wages for the Morgan County RII School District (I am using certified and office, because I feel they closer reflect the positions at the library): $35,800 for certified and $11.98 – $13.70 hourly for assistant secretaries to head secretary.  A forty-hour week, at 52 weeks comes to 2080 hours x $15 = $31,200.  Now keep in mind, this $15 wage is scheduled to be in place for 2024 at McDonalds, on our trip, $13 was the magic number which totals, $27,040.  I am never one to believe that someone’s wages are unfair in comparison to another, seriously, if you want something different, sometimes you have to do something different.  Do I want to work in the food industry? No way, those people earn every penny they receive, honestly $13 or $15 just doesn’t cut it when, according to the Department of Health and a Human Services, for a family or household of 4 persons living in one of the 48 contiguous states or the District of Columbia, the poverty guideline for 2021 is $26,500.  McDonalds does not just employee high school kids who need an after school job, they are for people with families to support. 

The issue with increasing the minimum wage, or with companies jumping higher than this amount, is that not everyone can compete.  Commercial businesses, at this point and in our area, are booming, so the money is there.  The only way for schools or libraries to increase wages is through a levy increase or diminishing staff size.  Neither is happening, hopefully neither is required, and I surely don’t feel either is right at this point and time. 

Our budget for 2022 is $417,907.  State standards suggest 10% be used for library materials (417,907-41,790 brings us to 376,117).  When we built the library we did not pursue a tax levy, so we are paying on a lease that will be paid in full on September 3, 2025 (376,117-85,052.40 = 291,064.60).  Yearly building maintenance averages around $40,000 (291,064.60-40,000 = 251,064.60).  Yearly utilities average around $21,600 (251,064.60-21 = 229,464.60).  Administrative/Management expenses, including building and workman’s comp insurance, office supplies, postage, programming, etc. average $23,400 (229,464.60-23,400 = 206,064.60).  Equipment and furnishings including computers, printers, etc., upkeep and purchase, average $15,000 (2064,064.60-15,000 = 191,064.60).  Payroll expenses, including salary and insurance for 5 FT employees and 2 PT is currently $203,000 (191,064.60-203,000 = a big oops).  Keep in mind we also typically spend more than 10% on library materials too, so no matter the wisdom my past math teachers showered upon me, the budget is a bummer. 

I wish you could see the papers scattered around me that include stats, past budgets, salary sheets, etc., all of it is used on the excel form set up for the new budget.  I love my job, I love my staff, I love my library, but it would be a lot easier if I didn’t.  Keep your fingers crossed, send up prayers, whatever positive vibes you can afford as we all proceed forward in this ever changing world. 

Upcoming Events: 11/3 Story Time at 10am, This is the last month for the Adult Reading Challenge, swing by the library for more information.