Blind River Library for the coveted windows that open at the back of the building

The board agrees to spend up to $17,500 on library windows. We will look at replacing the remaining windows next year

A bid of $35,000 to replace all windows in the Blind River Library building was put up for discussion at a virtual board meeting Monday evening.

Library Board Vice Chair Carol Fortino gave a presentation to the Board speaking about the funding available for windows and in response to Treasurer Sue Dent’s report to the Board on March 25 about the work.

Dent recommended the council delay the project until such time as funding can be secured to replace all of the windows, not just the rear windows and one of the front windows.

“From an aesthetic point of view, it doesn’t make sense to do this project with one or two windows at a time as we can’t be sure that the same style or the same type of windows will be available in the future,” Dent said in her recommendations. to the council.

At its budget meeting, the board decided to allocate $10,500 in tax levies to the project and another $7,000 from the city’s utility reserve. It has also decided that the library will contribute $17,500 of its reserves, a large portion of which is made up of its 2020 operating surplus of more than $35,000.

The $17,500 board expecting the library to create is basically what Fortino wanted to tackle.

She explained that the Library Board had already approved several necessary expenditures from its reserve fund, including a contribution of $9,000 to balance the 2022 operating budget as requested by the city.

“$15,000 was recently approved to replace non-functional technology, primarily computers used daily by library goers and staff,” she explained. Funding was also earmarked for things like snow removal bills by Blind River Town, new flooring near the trading desk (stumbling risk), wages to maintain a student hired in collaboration with the hiring company, plus $5,000 to cover the costs of replacing broken windows in a building the library “.

After these expenses, the library’s reserve fund will stand at about $5,000, which Fortino says the library wants to keep as an emergency fund.

In January, the Library Board obtained a quote for the replacement of all windows in the library building, for approximately $35,000. We were told that the city had set aside $17,500 in the 2022 budget and was asking the Library Board to match this amount from the Library Reserve Fund. But the Library Board did not agree to this request.”

She said that based on the correspondence, and the meeting with Mrs. Dent on March 22, the board members had the impression that the city would be willing to use the budgeted funds to replace at least the two damaged windows in the back of the library building.

“We feel that the board did not have access to all the information and we want to make sure you are well informed before voting on the proposal for new windows in the library,” Fortino said.

She said two damaged rear windows in the building have been a concern for the painting over the past few years.

In a February 4 email, (CAO-Clerk) Catherine Scott specifically stated “If the library chooses not to contribute windows, the city will do what it can with the $17,500 budgeted for in 2022.” We were very surprised to see the Treasurer’s report to the Board on March 25, 2022.”

Fortino said having windows that open in the back of the building is important to the library board. Crucially, she was willing to pay an additional $5,000, as it would cost to replace the two damaged windows with the ones that open.

“We believe (the damaged windows) is a health and safety issue and should be replaced immediately,” she added.

“It is the library board’s duty to care about the health and safety of goers and staff. With the emergence of COVID, priorities must be adjusted,” she said. “There are now ongoing calls by epidemiologists and medical experts for better ventilation so that we can ‘live with’ COVID in the future. We feel it is appropriate and easy to improve ventilation and air quality by installing new windows that open.”

Fortino also said the operating surplus Dent noted in her report to the board was unusual and the result of building closures due to COVID-19.

She went on to explain that technology purchases have been delayed due to COVID restrictions.

“It seemed logical to wait until the library could reopen its doors to replace old, non-working equipment – which is part of the reserve fund,” she said. “As a library board, we would be happy to contribute more to Windows, but the money in the library reserve is used to upgrade the library’s services to the community,” she added.

Fortino clarified that the library board is not asking the city council to increase the amount of funding it has approved from tax collection or the utility reserve. Instead, the library is asking the board to release the funds it approved and allow the project to move forward with replacing some of the windows this year and the rest later.

“We are fully aware that only this amount of funding is available, and our requirement is that this funding be directed to ensure the windows at the facility are repaired and open soon,” she said. “We appreciate the funds available from the city and our $5,000 will be enough to replace the two broken windows, and possibly even another window (if money allows) in the front of the building, which will allow for better air circulation.”

Fortino said the windows selected will likely be fairly standard. This increases the likelihood that exactly the same windows will be available when future upgrades are possible.

She also said that the council appreciates the council’s desire to use construction and accounting services to support the library.

“We believe this is a common practice for libraries in small communities and a necessary contribution by the municipality so that we can provide library services to our citizens,” she said. “The Library Board is proud of our vibrant and busy library.”

Fortino explained that the library offers many services to the entire community.

“Where the primary goal of public libraries was once to provide equal access to print, we are now also providing equal access to digital services,” Fortino said. “To provide the best possible opportunities to beneficiaries, our CEO collaborates with a variety of community organizations.”

Prior to COVID restrictions, the library regularly welcomed over 1,200 patrons per month. During COVID, it provided the only public community with access to computers.

“As a city council and library council, I believe that together we provide an excellent and much-needed service to our community,” she said in her presentation to the council.

The Board agreed to replace two damaged windows in the rear of the library and to replace at least one front window, subject to available funding.

The remaining work will be completed next year.

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