WASHINGTON — The library card issue for Washington Township residents will be decided later today when the Washington Township Advisory Board adopts its 2012 budget.
A library tax that was collected in 2011 but never paid to the Washington Carnegie Public Library has raised the ire of several township residents and county officials over the summer. When Washington Township Trustee Pete Showalter appeared before the Daviess County Council earlier this month for “non-binding” budget review, County Auditor Gail Doades, who said she was speaking as a patron and not an officeholder, questioned Showalter as to why there was a line in his budget for $10,000 for a tax levy when he hadn’t spent last year’s collection.
The township board, consisting of John Horton, Nancy Singleton and Glenn Newton, with Showalter as trustee, decided not to renew its contract with the Washington Carnegie Public Library for 2011 after the library raised its contract for a total of $10,500 for the year.
Teresa Heidenreich had sent a letter to Showalter on June 9 asking him to contact her or library board members by July 13 so she could plan the library’s budget for 2012 accordingly. That didn’t happen.
Then, following admonishment from county officials earlier this month who recommended Showalter reach out to the library board in negotiation, he drafted a letter to Heidenreich and the library board asking that the 2012 contract remain at $10,000.
Showalter’s letter, dated Aug. 18, 2011, said: “During such economic hard times, the township did not ask for any budget raises for the 2012 budget. We are struggling as many branches of local government and schools, libraries to work within our budget.”
However, according to the township’s annual report, which was published in January, the township had $435,123 in cash balances on hand as of Dec. 31, 2010. Of that, $6,462.74 was slated as library funds and hadn’t been spent. Plus, an additional $10,000 in library funds was levied for 2011 and is being collected.