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Library director issues apology to commissioners

By Sheryl Marsh
DAILY Staff Writer 340-2437

The Morgan County Commission plans to tweak the county budget this week and in doing so it must decide how much to give the Decatur Public Library.

The library came under fire by the commission earlier this month during a budget hearing with Director Sandra Sherman-McCandless.

Commissioners said they did not appreciate her starting a letter-writing campaign that they said bashed the commission for suggesting an 8 percent slash for the library allotment.

Sherman-McCandless apologized for the negative response commissioners received and wrote them a letter the next day. She also apologized for a mistake she said she made in the amount the state would cut her if the county decreased its appropriation.

"I do apologize for the mistake I made in the amount of state funding we could lose," Sherman-McCandless wrote in a letter dated Aug. 14. "And, I apologize for any unpleasantness the letters of support for the library caused."

Sherman-McCandless said Tuesday that she never expected some letter writers to insult commissioners by calling them "Nazis."

She said Tuesday that the cut would have been $46,315 rather than $100,000 as she had stated in a letter. She said the reason for such a cut is that, "You can't start being cut by local groups without some state cuts."

Now, it appears that the library won't lose any state or federal funds because tentatively the commission is not whacking the allotment.

At its last budget meeting, commissioners agreed to include $89,000 for the library.

District 4 Commissioner Stacy George said money included in the amount for Eva, Priceville and Falkville libraries will be re-allocated.

"I'm for funding the public libraries in Morgan County more than we did last year," said George. "Basically, we funded Hartselle out of the Districts 2 and 4 shops, but this year we'll do it out of the General Fund."

George said after the money goes to the rural libraries the Decatur library's share would be about $80,000.

Sherman-McCandless said she's comfortable with the distribution and now she won't lose other funding.

"It will not affect our state or federal money because this will be a re-distribution of the money, not a cut," said Sherman-McCandless.

She said the three libraries are operating independently of the Decatur library.

Hartselle Public Library pulled out of the Decatur-based library system last year and the commission deleted $14,000 from the allotment for the Decatur library.

District 2 Commissioner Richard Lyons and George gave Hartselle $5,000 each from their shop budgets.

The entire commission will make the final decision on allotments for the libraries.

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