Collegedale library cost estimated at $500,000

Collegedale library cost estimated at $500,000

May 7th, 2011 by Cliff Hightower in News


• Salaries and wages: $227,261

• Fringe benefits: $118,851

• Service rentals: $2,380

• Travel expense: $50

• Office and administration: $10,800

• Utilities: $16,900

• Repair and maintenance: $19,950

• Books: $50,000

• Property insurance: $2,155

• Other costs: $47,901

• Total: $499,798

Collegedale Mayor John Turner's jaw dropped this week when he heard the cost of taking over the library branch in Collegedale.

Half a million dollars.

"It's scary," Turner said. "It's intimidating."

Chattanooga officials this week gave the Chattanooga Times Free Press the 2011-12 budget request for the Collegedale branch of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library system. The request is for $499,798, including salaries and benefits, office and administration expenses, utilities and books. The library also gets some state funding for books and materials, officials said.

"We'll have to break this down and see if we can afford this expenditure," Turner said.

The library is among the agencies that will be affected when a 45-year-old sales tax agreement between Chattanooga and Hamilton County expires May 23. When that happens, the city gains control of about $10.5 million in sales tax revenue that previously went to Hamilton County to help fund several agencies jointly funded by the city and the county.

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield has said the city will fund libraries within city limits, but he hopes Collegedale will either take over that branch or contract with the main library to keep it going.

Dan Johnson, Littlefield's chief of staff, said this week the figures to run the Collegedale library could go down, depending upon the type of library Collegedale wants. He said the city plans to give Collegedale an array of options in the coming months.

"It's highly premature to talk about what they will or will not pay," Johnson said. "It's more involved than just numbers."

He would not go into details.

Eva Johnston, the main library's interim director, said she is not involved in discussions and doesn't know what's going on with the Collegedale branch.

"We hope to be able to keep it open," she said.