At Tuesday’s Wabash Carnegie Public Library (WCPL) board meeting, proposals to vote upon the upcoming salary ordinance and schedule and employee health insurance benefits were both tabled until their December meeting.

On Wednesday, Ware W. Wimberly III, executive director, said the salary item was tabled “due to comparative information the board wanted to know before making a decision” and that the employee health insurance item was tabled “due to the absence of a trustee who is the point person on that subject for the board.”

During previous Wabash City Council meetings, Mayor Scott Long had warned various city departments about potential upcoming revenue shortfalls due to the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19. Before Tuesday’s WCPL board meeting, Wimberly said they were on track to provide raises to their staff in the upcoming year. However, on Wednesday, Wimberly said the library board was worried about the potential for shortfalls in the future, as well.

“Although the library budget is independent of the city of Wabash’s budget, those same concerns with revenue shortages are what the library could face too,” said Wimberly.

Wimberly said the library’s funding is primarily comprised of property tax allocations from properties within the library district. For the WCPL, the library district boundaries are coextensive with Wabash city limits.

“Library revenue can also come from fines and fees but that is becoming less of a source over the past number of years,” said Wimberly.

Wimberly said libraries may also accept endowment gifts, grants and donations.

“Any possible revenue shortfalls would come primarily distributions it receives twice a year in terms of property taxes and monthly Local Income Tax distributions,” said Wimberly. “Our library has had tremendous community support over the years both in patronage and bequests and the library takes its fiscal stewardship very seriously.”

Wimberly said the 2021 budget had been submitted to the State of Indiana Department of Local Government Finance for approval. The budget public hearing date was Sept. 15 and the budget was adopted Oct. 20.

For salaries and wages, $501,121 is allocated in the 2021 budget, including both full-time and part-time team members.

Additional money, $202,000, is budgeted for benefits such as employee health care, State Retirement Fund (PERF) and other associated costs.

At the Monday, Sept. 28 Wabash City Council meeting, Wimberly presented their annual budget and said they were “blessed” with reserves, though they do have some restrictions in terms of what it can be used for.

Wimberly said the library’s budget was below the Maximum Levy Growth Quotient of 4.2 percent, with 3.6 percent increase. The civil max levy is $659,054. The property tax cap credit estimate is $88,430.

In the general fund, the budget was set at $1,322,593. The maximum funds to be raised (including appeals and levies exempt from maximum levy limitations) is $655,207. The current tax levy is $632,439. The levy percentage difference is 3.6 percent.

The library improvement reserve fund budget estimate is $300,000.

The total for both funds is $1,622,593.

The next WCPL board meeting is set for Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Rob Burgess, Wabash Plain Dealer editor, may be reached by email at rburgess@wabashplain