Westchester Public Library director Phil Baugher reported Thursday that even
though state officials had warned the library’s 2013 tax collections would
be $165,000 less due to circuit-breaker restrictions, the actual loss was
That news, however, was coupled with the new estimate that WPL stands to
lose $291,360 if the state’s personal property tax for business is
eliminated. Such a move, now being proposed in a modified form, is winding
through the halls of the current Indiana General Assembly.
Baugher told the WPL Library Board that since WPL ended 2013 in better
financial shape than anticipated, he recommended and the board approved
moving $294,607 to the rainy day fund; the director said next month he will
seek approval to move $250,000 of that into the investment fund.
Last year the Library Board spent several meetings and many hours hashing
out a new investment policy for WPL, which has no debt but a future addition
to Thomas Library has been discussed. Smarter investing now could help
generate cash faster, it’s hoped.
WPL currently has $8.1 million in all accounts with $6.75 million of that in
newly structured staggered investments of longer terms to maximize return.
Meeting as a Board of Finance last night, Library Board members readopted
their investment policy for 2014 with more amendments.
Nick Tilden was elected Finance Board president and Michele Corazzo as
It was announced the term of Claire Jolie is expiring on the Library Board
and she is not seeking reappointment. Candidates to replace her will be
interviewed next month. Selection is up to the Porter County Board of
As required the Library Board readopted several existing policies to guide
2014 operations, and members approved issuing free WPL cards to staff
members who are not residents of the Westchester Township library district.
Provided to the Library Board by curator Serena Sutliff was the 2013 annual
report for the WPL-operated Westchester Township History Museum. Visitors
rose from 4,240 in 2012 to 4,624 last year. Sales in the museum gift shop
also increased to $4,658.
Many of the public programs, tours and outreach programs to schools, civic
groups and seniors were well received, according to Sutliff’s report, and
her staff responded to 1,100 inquiries regarding questions on local history
and genealogy research. Eighty-one artifacts were donated to the museum as
The exhibit areas in the museum, housed in the historic Brown Mansion leased
from Duneland School Corp., are being updated and remodeled. Baugher said
the work is nearing completion and he plans a grand reopening with invited
guests in the spring.
The director noted with sadness the recent passing of former library
volunteer and employee Bob Block, the husband of former WPL head of
technical services Darla Block.
The next Library Board meeting will be Feb. 13 at Hageman Library in Porter.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the first Porter library in the
original town hall. Hageman subsequently was built across the street.