At their May 31 meeting, members of the town's Charter Revision Commission (CRC) discussed establishing a Library Committee that would oversee the spending of funds given to the by the town.
The CRC was formed in January to review the town charter, or the town's form of government, and to propose any changes to the document.
The CRC, composed of nine volunteer members, has held one public hearing March 7 to hear suggestions for possible changes to the charter. They will ultimately present their suggestions to the Board of Selectmen who can make additions, deletions and edits. The final proposed changes will go to the public for their vote.
Commission members discussed creating a new library committee composed of five to nine members.
Discussion revolved around creating such a committee to oversee the close to $700,000 the library receives from the town each year and the need for a separate committee to oversee the spending of these funds.
Many folks assume the library is another town agency or department but it is not. There is a Library Board of Trustees, usually 14 members, who oversee the library's operation and policies.
The library originated from a private trust fund in the 1970s, but as time passed, the trust fund could not cover all the library's costs. The town then began funding their operating expenses.
Town agencies such as the Police Department and Department of Public Works have a committee assigned to them to oversee the spending of town money, set policy and other items.
The library is funded through several avenues other than the town including the Arrabella A. Meigs Hull (wife of Henry Carter Hull) Trust Fund ($82,000 projected for 2012-2013); gifts from private individuals and fund-raising efforts ($25,000); dividends and interest income ($13,500); overdue charges for books, movies, etc. ($25,500); a grant from the state library system ($19,000); and photocopies, lost book fees and other fees ($5,000) for a total of $170,000.
As members of the CRC discussed, this committee would be a liaison between the Library Board of Trustees and the Board of Selectmen. It was noted that this type of committee could also be set up by an ordinance.