M’boro petition ‘facts’ unfounded

Published 10:41 am Monday, August 28, 2017

MURFREESBORO – While taking care of town business during the regular meeting of the Murfreesboro Town Council on August 23, a matter of clarity was brought to attention concerning the Elizabeth S. Parker Memorial Library.

“I was approached by a citizen, and made aware there’s a petition going around,” explained Council Member Bill Theodorakis.

The petition in question was apparently started by someone who took issue with the cut in the library’s operating hours, seeming to blame that on a reduction in funding from the town.

“I asked Carolyn [Brown, the Town Clerk] to get some information together to make people aware of what we actually do in totality,” Theodorakis said in an effort to clear up the spreading misinformation.

The information provided by Brown was included with the meeting’s agenda handout so that any citizens who attended the Council meeting would have access to the numbers as well.

For the 2017-18 fiscal year, the town budgeted $90,000 for the library’s use, an increase of over $3,000 from the previous year. Additionally, the town provides water, sewer, and electric utilities as well as maintenance and housekeeping services of the building.

In addition to the $90,000, the town annually spends approximately $5,400 on electricity, $2,000 on maintenance, $3,400 on cleaning, $924 on water, sewer, and garbage pick-up, and $1,000 on liability insurance for the library.

“So it’s $102,724 roughly,” said Theodorakis of the total funding the town provides. “I was hoping someone from this petition would be here today to get this information. I want them to be aware of what we actually do.”

During the discussion, the council also noted that they do not set the hours of operation for the town library, which is a branch of the Albemarle Regional Library. The hours are under ARL jurisdiction.

Theodorakis also pointed out that it would be easier to decide on budget funding in the future if the library could provide the Council with more statistical information on things such as programs, attendance, and computer usage.

In comments at the end of the meeting, Mayor John Hinton also wanted to address an incorrect statement he had heard spreading.

“There’s a rumor going around town that Council is planning to increase taxes, and increase water rates,” Hinton said, and then clarified that the rates are only up for change when the town decides on a budget for the year.

The Council voted on and approved the budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year at their June 28 meeting.

As previously reported in July by the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, the property tax rate for the town of Murfreesboro is 66 cents (per $100 of valuation) and remains the same as it has been in previous years.