The public and Beaufort County's library trustees asked the county to restore library hours after they were cut from 60 to 66 hours a week to 40 hours a week.
County Council set a reasonable goal of 50 hours at the four main branches, but we fumbled due to multiple errors:
The library director provided a cost of $368,000 to go from 40 hours to 51 hours at the four branches. But the Finance Committee used an incorrect figure of $225,000.
The libraries have had to turn back large sums each year to the county reserve fund ($320,000 in fiscal year 2013). The Finance Committee chairman insisted those dollars would be available to fund the extra hours, but they were not.
Council overwhelmingly supported the 50-hour goal and thought they had funded it. But because of those errors, they had not.
This could be repaired in a day, but requires leadership to:
We just spent more than $1 million on Project Robot and the Lowcountry Economic Alliance. We should be able to find money for our libraries.
Steven M. Baer
Hilton Head Island