Library budget tabled as municipal wage issues go unresolved

A 2013 budget proposal by the Vanderhoof Public Library reflects the rising cost of municipal wages and benefits packages

A 2013 budget proposal by the Vanderhoof Public Library reflects the rising cost of wages and benefits packages.

In the budget, the Library Board of Trustees accounted for a two-per-cent rise in employee wages and benefits, as well as an exterior paint job that could cost between $5,000 and $10,000, according to estimates by the municipality.

The wages and benefits of library staff have increased about three per cent since 2011, which is generally consistent with municipal employees who belong to the labour union CUPE 1642, said Donna Klingspohn, chair of the Vanderhoof Library Board of Trustees.

“The employees of the library, we compensate them on the same benefits package as municipal workers because we are a municipal program,” said Klingspohn.

But the 2013 packages for library staff could still change.

In recent years, municipal workers – public works employees, arena staff and some municipal administrative personnel – negotiated a wage and benefits package with the District of Vanderhoof that increased by about three per cent annually.

“We tend to have the same cycle,” said Tom Clement, deputy administrator for the District of Vanderhoof.

But a new agreement between workers and the municipality has been ongoing since Dec. 31, 2011, when the previous three-year-contract expired.

Negotiations on wage increases between the town and municipal workers will almost definitely spill over into 2013, said Randy Bailey, president of CUPE 1632, and an employee for the Vanderhoof public works department.

“I think the discussion is to try and get something, but it seems like nothing is available from the district… for a raise,” said Bailey.

Presuming that the municipality will grant the workers a two per cent increase in wages and benfits for 2013, the library board has gone ahead and allotted identical compensation to library staff in the budget, increasing total wages and benefits expenditures from $143,200 to $146,256.

“We’re looking forward to that, and hopefully we can reward our employees the same,” said Klingspohn.

The municipality is the largest contributor to the library’s budget, providing more than 70 per cent of operating grants since 2011, or about an average of $141,050 per year.

The library, a not-for-profit service, generates very little revenue to buffer operating costs, which increased three per cent in 2012 to $213,749.

On an annual basis, overdue fines bring in $2,000 while the multipurpose room – a meeting room that is rented out to for-profit groups for a nominal fee of $20 per day – generates $300.

“It’s pretty tough to generate revenue when all your programs are free of charge to people of the region,” said Klingspohn.

Provincial funding has been relatively stable since 2011, and years ago larger libraries in highly populated areas ceded funding to benefit smaller libraries. Regardless, the municipality has been highly supportive of library initiatives, including the strategic plan to improve area literacy, explained Klingspohn.

“They have not cut our budget either,” she said.

The library’s 2013 budget was presented to Vanderhoof council at a meeting on Nov. 26, about a week prior to the release of a Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) report that ranked Vanderhoof as 56 out of 153 B.C. comumunities – 153 being the best – in terms of responsible municipal operating spending based on population growth and inflation rates.

In northern B.C., Vanderhoof ranked 10 out of 30 communities.

The CFIB report took into account real operating spending per capita growth from 2000 to 2010 and the 2010 level of operating spending per capita.

Just Posted

Two individuals arrested who the Vanderhoof RCMP say are allegedly linked to B&E’s and thefts in the community

A long chase ensued where the accused fled from the police twice, and tried to get away on stolen Kayaks

Precipitation levels low for the month of June

Both June and July have seen low to average precipitation levels in comparison to last year, says meteorologist

CN train derailment cleared between Terrace and Prince Rupert

The CN mainline is now open, following a train derailment mid-way between… Continue reading

Nechako Valley Otters bringing home multiple medals from swim meets

The next meet for the Nechako Otters is on July 21 and 22

State of local financial crisis declared in Fort St. James

The District will have a job fair on July 31 to help workers find transitioning jobs

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Surrey court clerk files human rights complaint related to concussion

Deborah A. Ryane claims her employer discriminated against her on basis of mental disability

Coast Tsimshian sign historic stewardship agreement

Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla plan to work as one to preserve traditional lands

Food fight: Liberals, Tories trade shots as pre-campaign battles intensify

Health Canada released an overhauled document that did away with traditional food groups and portion sizes

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Most Read