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Winterville Budget Cuts Library Funding In 3 Months

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A vote held Thursday night for the town budget for Winterville will strip the library of around $60,000 in funding, but with a twist.

Town Manager Terri Parker says that the budget passed 4 to 1.

After the budget passed, a motion was held and passed 3-2 to continue to fund the library at its current rate, which Parker says is about $40,000 a month, for the first 3 months of the fiscal year.

Parker says the reason for that, is so the town can contact Pitt County commissioners in an attempt to garner more funding for the library than the $4,000 provided by the county.

Parker says that water, sewer and natural gas tax is going up as well.

For water and sewer, Parker says a base rate increase of just under $11.00 per household can be expected, while electric and natural gas sales tax rate will go from 3% to 7%.

The $18.5 million budget goes into effect July 1st.

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Residents in the town of Winterville came out Tuesday night in support of their local library, whose director said could lose nearly half of its funding in the proposed budget.

Three out of five council members voted to make the cuts to the library, while more than two dozen people showed up to show their disapproval.

Shantel Hawkins recalls her struggle to better her life as a single mother of three. Now an ECU graduate and 4th grade teacher at Lake Forrest Elementary, she says she continues to use the library as a teaching tool.

Hawkins says, "The library has helped me teach my children the importance of reading can carry you through that journey."

If the Winterville Council approves the new budget cutting funds to the library by 40 percent, library director Greg Needham says it would be closed Tuesdays and Thursdays.

On Monday, Pitt County officials said the library's budget this year could be cut from about $160,000 down to $100,000 -- plus contributions to maintain the building.

Councilman Ron Cooper is one of the three council members who voted for the cuts. He says, "The budget is like a piece of pie. There's only so many slices in there and we've got to consider how much money have we got to run this town."

Needham says there are six part time employees that work at the library and they would all be impacted.

The budget will officially go to a vote on Thursday.

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A Pitt County library is forced to make some serious cuts after a town council voted to reduce its budget by nearly 40%.

The vote was 3-2, with council members Mark Smith, Ron Cooper and Tony Moore voting to reduce the Winterville library's budget from just over $161,000 down to $100,000. Council members Johnny Moye and Veronica Robinson voted against the cuts.

Officials say the library will have to cut hours, which includes closing its doors Tuesdays and Thursdays. Employees hours will also be reduced to part-time work.

Greg Needham, Director of Libraries at Sheppard Memorial Library which operates the Winterville branch, says the cuts will also affect library dues.

The public is encouraged to attend a public hearing Tuesday night at Winterville Town Hall. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.


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