A few questions remain to be answered in light of Tuesday's meeting between the Neosho / Newton County Library Board and the Save the Seneca Branch Committee. These include:
• The library is a publicly-funded venture paid for through county taxes on real and personal property. Why is there not an itemized budget plan readily available to the committee as requested?
• Why do all four budget plans presented to the library board, including those without the $76,000 Seneca branch operating expenditure, have the same bottom line?
• E books and other new technology are all well and good, but how can you justify a $6,000 annual expenditure on this? Couldn't those funds be put to better use, such as maintenance of the building and preservation of current materials?
• In tough economic times, the library continues to pay $150 a month for lawn maintenance. Many small business owners in and around Neosho maintain their own property, fix their own toilets, and sweep and mop their own floors. It is a small expenditure, but every little bit helps.
• If the Seneca branch is to be closed, why did the library board approve installing window tinting in that location's windows?
• Like the Seneca committee, we wonder why Library Director Ginny Ray has not been to a Save the Seneca Branch Committee meeting since the group's inception.
• And we wonder why the Save the Seneca Branch representative, Josh Dodson, was not treated with courtesy and respect by all board members during Tuesday's meeting. To try to limit his time to present his report, as one board member suggested, is not fair. His report was an agenda item and not subject to the five-minute time limit the board gives visitors' business. And to allow library staff members to make snide remarks under their breath during his presentation is childish and inexcusable.
To us, it seems the library board is not trying very hard to keep the Seneca branch open. And to decide to close the branch last September, on the heels of an overwhelming vote against a 14.5-cent levy increase for library improvements, smacks of revenge. Seneca voters turned down the proposal by a nearly 6 to 1 margin.
We sincerely hope that is not the board's intent. We sincerely hope the board will strive to make necessary budget cuts and to present more openness in the future.