While many local municipal departments and districts have had to tighten their belts recently due to the economic slowdown, the Wabash Carnegie Public Library (WCPL) boasts reserves and plans to give raises to its staff.

At their November meeting Tuesday evening, the WCPL Board of Trustees was set to vote upon their proposed salary ordinance.

Earlier in the day Tuesday, Ware W. Wimberly III, WCPL executive director, said they would determine the final salary schedule at the meeting, but that 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 previous Wabash City Council meetings, Mayor Scott Long has warned that significant revenue shortfalls were on the way due to the shutdowns caused by COVID-19.

However, Wimberly said the WCPL wasn’t in the same position.

“The library has been able to provide raises over the past number of years and anticipate will be able to that again for 2021,” said Wimberly. “Salaries and wages have not been reduced with the pandemic. I would anticipate that to continue in 2021 also.”

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