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Pine River Public Library fundraising committee formed

As a result of a planning and zoning meeting, supporters of the Pine River Public Library scheduled a meeting for July 8 at 6 p.m. at the Pine River Depot to discuss alternative funding for the library.

At the June 11 regular meeting of the Pine River City Council, Mayor Jim Sabas said that residents of the City of Pine River made up only about 20 percent of the customers that use the library. He said that it was unfair for the city to continue to pay more than their share.

At the June 25 planning and zoning meeting, Wanda Mongan read a letter from Steve Hansen of the Pine River Library Foundation which said that the budget to pay for the library is $126,337, 22.3 percent of which is $28,173.16. The city paid $28,134 toward the library last year. This corrected some of Sabas’ misunderstandings, and also offered clarification to the rest of the council.

Due to this clarification, the council’s discussion changed focus.

“The meeting tonight is not so much as to say we’re not paying any more, or we’re paying too much, it is to ask ‘can the city afford to keep paying if we keep getting cut, and what other services do we cut to keep the library?’” City Clerk Wanda Mongan said. “That’s one of the main purposes of the meeting, to get people to brainstorm and give us some suggestions of how to raise money that can be used for the building funds, sent to the library foundation so they do not have to raise their lease, things like that.”

Mongan suggested that the library could consider sending “beg letters” requesting donations.

“We have fundraised in the past for a lot of stuff, but the surrounding area doesn’t come out big time for fundraisers. I think they’re all tired out or something,” said Pine River Library Branch Manager Muriel Erickson. “So it’s really hard to have any fundraising at all anymore.”

Erickson said that their most recent wine and beer tasting event was not as successful as they had hoped it would be. Erickson also said that fundraising is difficult because the library staff is very busy.

John Wetrosky suggested that any fundraiser should be done in person, and with clear goals in mind. He said that they should know how much money they need, and what they were going to use it for. Wetrosky also suggested that the library target residents who benefit from the library, and have money available for donation.

“If you explain the cause, and target those folks I think you might have a shot at raising some more money.” Wetrosky said.

“It’s not that they want to make it hard on the city. It’s just that it’s the city’s responsibility to provide a building and maintain it. In this case, the foundation owns the building, but that means they have to rent the building for the library. That’s a state mandate,” Erickson said.

Mike Hansen asked if Wetrosky thought it might be better for the library foundation to seek the donations rather than the city, because people might be more likely to donate to the library foundation.

“I think the foundation has to be the lead organization on this,” Wetrosky said.

Residents discussed having bake sales, refreshment stands, or book sales at the weekly Pine River Duck Races, or other already established events.

A small committee was formed. They scheduled a meeting for anyone interested in assisting in helping to explore possible fundraising options for the Pine River Public Library. The first meeting was scheduled July 8 at 6 p.m. at the Pine River Depot.

Absent from the meeting were Sabas and council member Tony Desanto.