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Financially, Hall library system preparing for the worst

The Hall County Library System is preparing for the worst in case it loses local funding on top of up to $38,000 it could lose from the state.

"We still do not know what’s going to happen locally," library director Adrian Mixson said. "Our money locally is operating money."

County funds pay almost all operating fees — everything from salaries to utilities.

Mixson said the library system usually receives around $160,000 each year from the state to buy new books.

This year, it’s likely it won’t receive that much.

Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tom Oliver said the county is monitoring its finances closely and has devised a plan.

"We’re establishing a policy for the entire county. We set up trigger points where by if certain revenues don’t materialize, then this is the plan of action we will take. If there are further cuts in the reduction of revenues, we will go to a different plan," Oliver said.

The plan likely will be revealed at the commission’s next work session Oct. 6.

Hall County currently has a hiring freeze in effect, and Oliver said while that has helped save a lot of money, revenues from sources such as sales taxes and inspection fees are down, which could mean more cuts are necessary.

"We’re monitoring it daily," Oliver said.

Like the county, Mixson said the library board will be drafting a plan to be ready should cuts affect the library.

"The last time this library system was asked that (to make cuts) was six or seven years ago," Mixson said.

At that time, Mixson said libraries laid off its part-time employees, cut back operating hours, and even eliminated weekend hours at some locations.

"Right now I do not anticipate any kind of closing doors and laying off staff," Mixson said. "We’re still waiting for county government. I’m pretty sure county government is waiting for state government. And of course everybody’s waiting to see what’s going to happen with the crisis in Washington right now with the banks and financial houses."

Mixson said the state government already has had to cut back on many library services as a result of its $1.6 billion deficit.

For example, Mixson said $200,000 already has been pulled from GALILEO, Georgia’s electronic library.

Other services the state funds, such as overdue notices and delivery fees, could suffer as well.

"The state does a lot for the libraries," Mixson said.

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