The Rhinelander city council has voted to send the Rhinelander District library's budget to the town partners for arbitration.
Library Director Ed Hughes told the council while preparing the budget, they noticed they should have been paying more for health insurance...
"...we were caught last year by surprise. We weren't covering some people that needed to be covered by insurance. It was an honest mistake, but it's costing us $40,000 to $42,000 a year..."
The library is funded in part with a partnership between the city and the towns of Newbold, Pine Lake, Pelican and Crescent. If one of the groups objects to the proposed budget, it goes to an arbitration hearing, where a budget is agreed upon among the partners.
City Administrator Blaine Oborn said last year the library's budget was slightly down from the prior year.
Council member Alex Young said the city is working toward a zero budget increase and felt it best at this early stage to have the library take the matter to arbitration to work out a deal.
Council member Tom Kelly felt the city could absorb the increase...
"...we have 43 percent of the population in the city but are only responsible for 36 percent of the cost..."
After re-figuring the numbers, the increase was about $12,000. Hughes said if cuts are needed, it's likely a part-time position would be eliminated and a full-time position would go to part-time. He said if the cuts are necessary, it likely would mean fewer hours of operation.
The council voted 6-2 to send the matter to arbitration.