Out-of-county library fees cost taxpayers
KEWAUNEE – Kewaunee County is asking residents to try and take advantage of its local public libraries in Algoma and Kewaunee to help save taxpayer dollars, according to Jennifer Schneider, tourism coordinator and public information officer.
Kewaunee County has recently been billed $50,090 by Brown County for use of its libraries in 2015. The bill is due by March 1, 2017. This follows the 2014 bill that was sent to Kewaunee County in the sum of $54,970 and paid by March 1, 2016.
This is not an uncommon practice, said Schneider.. It has been state law since 2006 under Act 420 that a consolidated public library system, like Brown County, can bill adjacent counties like Kewaunee County, who are not consolidated for library services. A consolidated public library system is one that is maintained and financed through the county, she said.
Brown County isn’t the only library usage bill coming to Kewaunee County. Manitowoc County has also been sending bills to Kewaunee County, but on a much smaller scale, according to Schneider.
Manitowoc County sent Kewaunee County a bill in the sum of $985 for library usage in 2014, which was due before March 1, 2016. And, the most recent bill for 2015 usage is $1,338, which is to be paid by March 1, 2017.
Records show that 43,993 library materials were checked out directly by Kewaunee County residents in Brown County and Manitowoc County in 2014 and 2015.
Nearly all of the materials loaned from libraries outside of Kewaunee County could have been obtained at either the Algoma Public Library or Kewaunee Public Library at no cost, said Schneider.
And, as for library materials that are not immediately available, a request for those can be submitted either in person or online with the ability to pick up the materials at the library that it was ordered from or at Nicolet National Bank in Luxemburg, she said.
Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt would like to see residents make an immediate effort to try and stay within Kewaunee County for library services.
“This is an easy way to save taxpayer money. And, my family is one of those taking advantage of getting a book or movie ordered through Algoma Public Library or Kewaunee Public Library, if neither have it in stock,” Feldt said. We also have the luxury of being able to pick it up in Luxemburg and this service comes at no additional cost to the county.”
The Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors is exploring its options on how to get this issue addressed.
“Once the taxpayers of Kewaunee County realize that we could avoid some or most of this expense, I believe that our citizens would work through the local library system to easily obtain the materials that are now being checked out in other counties,” said Kewaunee County Board Chairman Bob Weidner. “This outflow of county funds could be better used to support services within our own county.”
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Out-of-county library fees cost taxpayers