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Rice Co. Ponders 2.5 Percent Budget Bump to Northfield Library

If the proposed budget receives final approval, the county will allot about $188,000 to the Northfield Library in 2014.

Depending on the largesse of the Rice County Commission, Northfield Library could be in for a slight boost in 2014—$4,597 to be exact.

Rice County Auditor and Treasurer Fran Windschitl debuted the proposed county budget on Tuesday, which contained a small windfall for the county's libraries. Altogether, the four libraries requested $419,335 in county funds for 2014, only about $10,000 more than the previous year.

"Since we can't fund everything, we ended up deciding to put in a 2.5 percent increase or (the library's) request, whichever was less," Windschitl told commissioners.

The Northfield Library has requested $188,470, about $5,000 more than its county allotment in 2013. Library Director Teresa Jensen told the Faribault Daily News that the money might be used to upgrade data infrastructure, improve the library's WiFi, and expand its offerings for Spanish-speakers and children.

The City of Northfield will contribute the bulk of the library's budget, however. According to the city's preliminary budget for 2014, Northfield will spend $1,038,760 on its library if the proposal gets final approved as is. The city could also kick in $26,000 of its Local Government Aid to hire a part-time librarian to work on Sundays. 

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