Hospital Honors First PETAL Award Winner

Greene County General Hospital is proud to recognize Tim Johnson as the first winner of the PETAL Award, an employee recognition award that honors non-nursing staff for Performing Exceptional Tasks and Affirming Lives.

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Tim has been part of the GCGH team since 1999, and works as an Occupational Therapist in the Physical Therapy Department. He was nominated by two of his former patients, one of whom lovingly referred to  him as his “drill sergeant,” and credited his therapy sessions with relieving the tremendous pain he experienced after a rotator cuff surgery.

Other nominees included Gerri Jackson, Kelsey Schilt, Sherry Gaither, Joshua Wolfe, and Candice Tatlock.

The PETAL employee recognition program identifies employees who serve as models to the community for professional achievement and reinforce Greene County General Hospital’s commitment to recognizing outstanding performance. The PETAL award is given three times a year to a non-nursing employee who exemplifies extraordinary service in the performance of their job.

The PETAL award was established for non-nursing staff to align with the DAISY award for nursing staff. Nominations are accepted year round, and forms can be found in each of the hospital’s waiting areas as well as online at GreeneCountyHosptial.com.

Hospital Honors First PETAL Award Winner

Greene County General Hospital is proud to recognize Tim Johnson as the first winner of the PETAL Award, an employee recognition award that honors non-nursing staff for Performing Exceptional Tasks and Affirming Lives.

img_0076

Tim has been part of the GCGH team since 1999, and works as an Occupational Therapist in the Physical Therapy Department. He was nominated by two of his former patients, one of whom lovingly referred to  him as his “drill sergeant,” and credited his therapy sessions with relieving the tremendous pain he experienced after a rotator cuff surgery.

Other nominees included Gerri Jackson, Kelsey Schilt, Sherry Gaither, Joshua Wolfe, and Candice Tatlock.

The PETAL employee recognition program identifies employees who serve as models to the community for professional achievement and reinforce Greene County General Hospital’s commitment to recognizing outstanding performance. The PETAL award is given three times a year to a non-nursing employee who exemplifies extraordinary service in the performance of their job.

The PETAL award was established for non-nursing staff to align with the DAISY award for nursing staff. Nominations are accepted year round, and forms can be found in each of the hospital’s waiting areas as well as online at GreeneCountyHosptial.com.

Budget Order and Final Tax Rates Approved

CourthouseBrandy (Large)

INDIANAPOLIS (February 12, 2015) – The Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) certified Greene County’s 2015 budget order and tax rates on January 26, 2015, paving the way for on-time property tax bills. The budget certification puts the county in a position to have taxes due on May 11, 2015. Greene County was the 30th county in the State to receive its 2015 budget order and tax rates.

“The certification of the budget order and tax rates sets the stage nicely for on-time tax bills for the sixth consecutive year, continuing the predictable administration of the property tax system,” DLGF Commissioner Courtney L. Schaafsma, CGFM said. “A tremendous amount of collaboration between local and state officials is required to ensure property tax bills go out on time, and it is rewarding to see all the efforts pay off.”

The first step in the assessment to tax billing process is the completion of the property assessments, which culminates with the submission of a ratio study. A ratio study is a comparison between property sales prices and assessed values in the county to ensure that market values are being used to determine assessed values. Typically, these should be submitted to the state and approved by May 31, the year prior to tax billing. Greene County’s ratio study was submitted on May 19, 2014.

Once the DLGF approves the ratio study, the assessor sends the gross assessed values to the county auditor, who applies exemptions, deductions, or abatements to determine the net assessed values – the values upon which tax rates are based. That information was statutorily due to the DLGF by August 1, 2014. Greene County’s certified net assessed values were submitted on August 21, 2014.

Now that the 2015 budget has been certified by the DLGF, the next steps are handled at the county level. The county auditor is to calculate tax bills, which the county treasurer should mail to taxpayers no later than April 17, 2015. A copy of the Greene County budget is available at the Department of Local Government Finance Website.

Bloomfield School District Superintendent Talks School Funding

Bloomfield School new

The Indiana General Assembly is currently in session. This is a budget year and a long session that will not conclude until the end of March. During this session, as during any long session the legislators will be developing a state budget for 2016 and 2017. The development of a new state budget could also bring changes to the school funding formula. In crafting a new state budget and school funding formula, the state legislators must decide how to allocate state resources. Public education is approximately 51% of the state budget.

This year the state legislature is debating some changes in the school funding formula. In each budget cycle, winners and losers emerge from these deliberations. In Governor Pence’s State of the State address, he called for public education to be allocated $200 million additional dollars. However, the allocation of these additional funds should be somewhat concerning to you as a parent of a student attending a traditional public school. Governor Pence wants $159 million of the $200 million to go toward funding for traditional public schools. In Indiana, there are 954,904 students attending traditional public schools like Bloomfield Elementary and Bloomfield Jr.-Sr. High School. The average increase for these students would be $166.49 per student. In comparison, Indiana has 62,356 students attending private schools utilizing Choice Scholarships or enrolled in Charter Schools. Governor Pence wanted to allocate $41 million dollars to the 62,356 students receiving Choice Scholarships or enrolling in Charter Schools. The average increase for these students would be $657.51 dollars per student. So, 20% of the additional funding would go to 6 % of the students in the state of Indiana.

Additionally, Governor Pence would like to allocate additional funds to go to maintenance or transportation of Charter School students that would bring the total additional funds per student to $1,500. Traditional public schools have a local property tax levy paid by property owners that funds transportation and maintenance of buildings. Charter schools and private schools don’t receive a local property tax levy. It appears as if a portion of the revenue generated from sales tax receipts and income tax will now go to fund the transportation and maintenance of Charter Schools and Private Schools in Governor Pence’s proposed budget. At the conclusion of the last legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly forgave approximately $93 million dollars in loans to Charter Schools. Many of the charter schools are operated by for profit corporations housed outside the state of Indiana. So, a portion of your tax dollars was sent to operators of Charter Schools whose corporations are centered in other states. Indiana laws are currently on the books mandating traditional public school corporations sell unused schools to the Indiana Department of Education for $1.00. Local property tax payers paid for the construction of these buildings, but the school district must liquidate the building to the Department of Education once the building is no longer in use. The Indiana Department of Education in turn leases these buildings to charter schools.

The Indiana General Assembly will consider making changes to another part of the school funding formula referred to as the Complexity Grant. The Complexity Grant provides additional funding to schools that have larger percentages of students that receive Free and Reduced Textbooks. A family can qualify for Free and Reduced Textbooks if the total family income falls below a certain level. In Greene County, Bloomfield School District receives the fewest dollars per student in comparison with the other schools in the county. Below is the 2015 funding level per school district in Greene County:

School District – Foundation Funding – Complexity Grant – Total Funding

Bloomfield – $4,607.90 – $1,007.30 – $5,615.30

Eastern Greene – $4,842.30 – $1,201.30 – $6,403.70

Linton-Stockton – $4,587.00 – $1,032.50 – $5,619.50

Shakamak – $4,890.40 – $1,299.00 – $6,189.40

White River Valley – $4,997.20 – $1,218.30 – $6,216.00

The discussion over the Complexity Grant is due to some school districts with wealthier patrons getting as low as $254 dollars per student in complexity funds. These school districts typically have lower percentages of students receiving Free and Reduced textbooks. Again, when changes occur in school funding, winners and losers emerge from the changes. A change in how the Complexity Grant is divided could negatively or positively impact your son or daughter. A negative impact on Bloomfield School District could result in larger class sizes and fewer classes for students to choose at Bloomfield Jr.-Sr. High School.

Indiana is moving to a Foundation Funding for all schools. The 2015 Foundation Funding amount was $4,587 dollars per student. As you can see, Bloomfield School District was $20.90 above Foundation Funding for 2015. During the next three years, Bloomfield School District will lose $20.90 per student in Foundation Funding until Foundation Funding is achieved. In Greene County, Linton is the only county school corporation at the foundation funding level. However, if major changes occur in the Complexity Index the changes might negatively impact Bloomfield School District. As a result, tough decisions might have to be made locally by the Bloomfield School District Board of School Trustees.

The last area in which changes could occur in the 2016 school funding formula is in the area of vocational funding. During 2015, Bloomfield School District will receive $97,000 from the Vocational Grant. The funding for the Vocational Grant is generated currently by the number of students enrolled in vocational classes. Approximately 70% of the vocational funding for Bloomfield School District is generated by enrollment of students in one hour vocational classes. Bloomfield’s rural location makes it difficult for students to enroll in a career center for multiple hour classes. The length of travel time to the nearest career centers in Bloomington, Bedford, and Vincennes would result in students losing class time for transportation to these centers. Most students cannot afford to lose an hour or more per day in their class schedule for travel to and from a career center. One of the early proposals for Vocational Funding would have eliminated funding for one hour classes. As a result, Bloomfield School District would have lost approximately $37,000 of the current $97,000 in vocational funding. A second proposal would have cut funding of the one hour classes from $250 per student to $150 per student. This would result in a loss of approximately $15,000 in funding. In comparison, salary and benefits for a first year teacher is equivalent to approximately $45,000. So, the loss of this funding would have resulted in the loss of a portion of the one hour vocational classes currently offered to students. The amount of dollars for the appropriation for vocational education has not been increased since 2000. Traditional public school corporations have countered to increase funding to the vocational education appropriation and implement the proposed changes by Governor Pence with the additional dollars appropriated to vocational education above the $100 million dollar appropriation level. So, if the appropriation is increased by $25 million, the proposed changes would be administered with this $25 million additional dollars.

The purpose of my letter is to urge you to communicate with your local representative concerning these issues. Please feel free to express your support or concern over any of the issues associated with the school funding formula and the state budget for 2016 and 2017. Below is the email address for the Indiana General Assembly members representing Bloomfield School District:

Indiana House of Representatives –

Matt Ubelhor

200 W. Washington Street

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Phone: 800-382-9842

Email: h62@iga.in.gov

Indiana Senate –

Eric Bassler

200 W. Washington Street

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Phone: 800-382-9842

Email: 239@iga.in.gov

If you have questions about any of the issues discussed in this letter, please feel free to contact me. My email address is dsichting@bsd.k12.in.us. You can also contact me via telephone at 812-384-4507, Ext. #144.

Sincerely,

Daniel A. Sichting

Superintendent

Governor Mike Pence Directs Flags to be Flown at Half-Staff in Martin and Greene Counties

Flag Half Staff

Indianapolis – Governor Mike Pence is directing flags at state facilities in Martin and Greene counties to be flown at half-staff on Thursday, February 5, in honor of Retired U.S. Navy Captain Charles LaSota.

Captain LaSota served for 35 years in the U.S. Navy and led the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) from July of 2008 to October of 2011. Flags should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, February 5.

Governor Pence also asks businesses and residents to lower their flags to half-staff to honor the life and service of Captain Charles LaSota.

Greene County Missing Woman Case Marina Boelter; Detectives Still Asking for Public’s Help

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Bloomfield – Indiana State Police Detectives are continuing their investigation into the disappearance of Marina Boelter of Bloomfield who was last seen on New Year’s Eve near the Bloomfield IGA.

Marina had been seen that evening wearing blue jeans with rhinestone designs on the back pockets, a black and purple jacket and Nike tennis shoes, described as white, with a pink swoosh and black trim.

Detectives and Troopers are still following up on leads and information regarding this case. Please call 812- 332-4411 and speak to the Post Commander or contact ISP Bloomington via Facebook (Curt Durnil, Indiana State Police or Twitter @ISPBloomington) with any new information.

Tips can remain anonymous.

nike shoes

Marina’s Nike shoe

Law Enforcement Students to Graduate in March

Josh Fuller (right) practices the proper procedures to take during a traffic stop at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield.

PLAINFIELD — Greene County residents Jordan Allor and Josh Fuller are entering week 10 of 16 at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. Last week, Allor, of the Bloomfield Police Department, was training on firearms, while Fuller, of the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, was going through traffic stops training.

Firearms and stops are two of the four “breakout” weeks, during which trainees get hands-on experience. The other two special classes are EVOC, or emergency vehicles operations course, and physical tactics. Other weeks at the academy are spent primarily in a classroom setting, learning criminal law and more.

“The breakout weeks are a lot of fun,” Allor said. “You get to meet more people in your squad. You’re all in a group setting instead of a class.”

While getting out and physically participating during those weeks may be enjoyable, Fuller said instructors have taught him valuable information in the classroom as well.

“The criminal law classes have helped explain a lot of stuff that I wasn’t 100 percent clear on,” he explained.

Both Allor and Fuller said training is going well so far. Fuller added that hearing everyone else’s stories did not really prepare them for the ILEA experience.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Allor agreed. “Other officers — some liked it, some did not.”

While at the academy, officers typically stay in a dormitory through the week and return home on weekends. This can be challenging in more ways than one, the men said.

“The hardest part is being away from family,” Allor explained.

Fuller said, “It will be nice to get back into a normal routine, even though then we will have to actually work.”

Allor said getting back to his job will provide him with a much needed break from getting up at 5:30 a.m. every day. He typically works 12-hour shifts, between second and third shift for the Bloomfield Police Department.

Fuller works evenings for Greene County Sheriff’s Department as well.

Allor and Fuller are set to graduate on March 13. For more information about ILEA, visit the website at www.in.gov/ilea.

The B-Roll, February 7-14, 2014

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Assessor’s Office Staff: Willard Neill Made Every Day a Blessing
[Read Story]

EMA Director Roger Axe: Conserve and Look After One Another During Propane Shortage
[Read Story]

Worthington Town Council Tends to Housekeeping Items
[Read Story]

The Dugger Union Community School Corporation Moves Forward with Plans to Open in August
[Read Story] (Photo courtesy of How Charming Photography)

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Greene County Travel Status: Level One

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The Greene County Board of Commissioners has moved the travel status for Greene County to level one.  You are advised to travel at your own risk.

This advisory will last from 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday to 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

 

The B-Roll, January 27-February 3, 2014

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WRV School Board Passes Referendum Tax Levy Resolution [Read Story]

Guns, Drugs Lead to Criminal Charges in Lyons [Read Story]

Helicopter Disturbance Tuesday Night Due to Routine Training [Read Story]

Updated: Fire at Coalmont Gym [Read Story]

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The B-Roll, January 20-27, 2014

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Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw: No Charges Filed in Connection with Death of Joshua Ray [Read Story]

Updated: New Details on State Road 54 Crash [Read Story]

Huge Turnout for Buck Creek Muzzle Loaders Trade Fair [Read Story]

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The B-Roll, January 12-20, 2014

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Tamera Crosley Enters Plea of Not Guilty on Friday [Read Story]

Flood Warning for White River [Read Story]

Linton Chamber of Commerce Honors WorkOne and Noble Stallons [Read Story]

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The B-Roll, January 5-11, 2014

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Governor Declares State of Emergency for 29 Counties [Read Story]

County Commissioners Vote for Emergency Closure of Bridge 24 [Read Story]

Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce Seeks Board Member and Committee Members [Read Story]

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The B-Roll, December 22-28, 2013

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This week in Greene County, Greene County Republican Party Chairman Pamela Yoho decided not to approve Linton Police Department Detective Sergeant Joshua Goodman’s request to run for sheriff as a member of the Republican Party. Yoho noted that the last primary he voted in was in 2007, when he voted as a Democrat. According to state statute, Yoho would have needed to certify that he is affiliated with the Republican Party in order to allow him to run as a Republican, and she said she could not do that because of his voting record.

Goodman stated that while her decision came as a surprise, he will not let it or politics deter him from running for sheriff. He is now seeking election as a Democrat.
[Read Story]

Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Major Michael Hasler has announced his intention to run for sheriff as a republican candidate.
[Read Story]

According to NewsBarb contributor Chris Wathen, the Greene County Solid Waste Management District will discontinue its commercial cardboard pickup as of the first of the year in order to save money.

Local businesses are encouraged to either bring their cardboard to the recycling center, contract with Republic for a recycling bin, or, as a final and less desirable option, place the cardboard in a dumpster to go to a landfill.
[Read Story]

Trash pick-up in Linton for the week of New Year’s will be a day behind schedule Wednesday through Friday.

Local Woman’s Business Venture Builds on Love as a Recipe for Success

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One Greene County woman is baking her way into the world of doggy treats.

Sarah Riggins, of rural Bloomfield, has combined her love of dogs and love of baking to create some stay-at-home business success.

Riggins is the creator of LukieDog Treats – which are homemade preservative-free dog treats that are available in different sizes and flavors.

“I was looking for a way to make a little extra money doing something I love that would still give me the flexibility to be a stay-at-home mom. I love dogs, and I love baking, so this seemed like the right thing for me,” Riggins explained.

As it turns out, and has her research suggested, there’s a market for such products.

“I did a lot of research on various selling sites, like etsy.com, and discovered there is a demand for this kind of product,” she said.

She then combined a staple recipe with a little kitchen creativity to develop an original product.

“I played with the recipe, made a few changes, and then started making them different flavors. You won’t find this exact recipe anywhere else that I know of,” Riggins explained, adding LukieDog Treats come in bacon, peanut butter, and pumpkin flavors.

The treats are made with all-purpose flour and natural ingredients, but are also created with wheat flour for allergy-prone canines.

Along with their culinary flair, the treats are also a namesake honoring Riggins’s very best canine friend.

“I named [them] LukieDog Treats because my absolute favorite dog in the entire world’s name was LukieDog. Her picture is also on every bag of treats I make. She was the best and [similar] to the nanny dog on Peter Pan,” Riggins explained. “Unfortunately, I had to put her down about two years ago. That was one of the saddest days of my life.”

LukieDog Treats are available at Deb’s Happy Trails in rural Bloomfield and at The Silver Lining in Linton. They are also available online at www.etsy.com, or at https://www.facebook.com/lukiedogtreats.

Smithville Helps Greene County Foundation with New Community Building

County Logo

The Greene County Foundation was recently awarded a $55,000 grant through the Smithville Charitable Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of Smithville Telephone. $20,000 will be split between the foundation’s Community Support Fund, which is used to award competitive grants for immediate community needs, and the foundation’s work force development activities. The other $35,000 will be used to renovate the Greene County Community Building located at the 4H Fairgrounds.

These renovations will cost around $830,000 and Greene County Foundation Executive Director Cam Trampke said the process of raising funds is steadily moving forward.

“Our role is looking at trying to raise about a third of the cost, which is somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000,” she noted. “The hope is that since it is a county building, county government can provide those other dollars. The Redevelopment Commission is behind the project and the County Commissioners are behind the project. It’s the County Council who holds the majority of the purse strings and everybody sees the need for this. The question is can we make it happen?”

Trampke stated that they now have about 60 percent of the money they aimed to raise through community donations. She added she believes many people are waiting to donate until they see what the County Council decides to do for the project, since the county owns the community building.

In the meantime, Trampke is appreciative of the confidence Smithville has shown in the foundation and its plans.

“Smithville, a local business that serves many people in this community, believes in Greene County and believes in the foundation and is making significant contributions to the area,” she explained.

To find out more about the Greene County Foundation, visit www.greenecountyfoundation.org.

 

Gabriel’s Mark: Helping Foster Families with Needed Items

Some local ladies have recently started collecting gently-used clothing, personal items, toys, and other necessities for foster children and the families who help them.

Some local ladies have recently started collecting gently-used clothing, personal items, toys, and other necessities for foster children and the families who help them.

‘Gabriel’s Mark’ is the co-creation of Natalee Woodward, Amber Cates, and Misty Kelsey. The organization serves the Greene, Sullivan, Daviess, and Martin County area through donations and volunteer power.

“My friend, Natalee, and I have been talking for a long time about ways we can give back. We have been blessed with healthy kids, good jobs, and good family and support systems,” Cates explained, noting it’s not been uncommon for her to give her children’s hand-me-downs to friends.

But, her perspective on this changed after becoming a foster parent.

“Last year, my husband and I got our foster license through DCS. In April, we got a call for our first placement, a newborn baby,” she explained. “We had absolutely nothing for a baby, we made a few calls and then made a mad dash to Walmart to buy the necessities. Three hours, and a lot of help later, we were holding this precious baby in a fully stocked nursery.”

Now, the Cates’ family has had the foster child for six months and has also went through many baby items.

“In that time, he has grown and needed all the same things you would need for your own baby. The state pays a per diem to foster families, but it isn’t much and definitely doesn’t cover the majority of what you need,” she explained. “I realized how fortunate we were to not only have the family and friends support network that we have, but also the means to purchase the things we need.”

A lot of foster families don’t have those things and even more kids end up in relative care, she added, noting many times families do not have the financial means to buy the necessities.

“That’s how Gabriel’s Mark came about. Gabriel being the first angel named in the Bible and the mark being the mark that we hope to leave. We began collecting gently used items like clothing, bedding, toys, and other things to have on hand when a need arises. We hope to have an inventory of all sizes and kinds of items. We hope to work with DCS, CASA, and anyone who may be aware of a need,” Cates explained.

Gabriel’s Mark currently has two volunteers in Greene County and one in Martin/Daviess County.

Donations can be items that are new or gently used. If you would like to donate, please contact Cates by phone at (812) 699-0973, or by email at gabrielsmark2013@yahoo.com.

“On the same token, if someone knows of a foster or kinship provider who could benefit from something we have, they can contact us. Right now we have a lot of sizes and variety of clothing and toys, we hope to have a little bit of everything eventually,” she added.

For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/gabrielsmark.

Bloomfield Library Offers Facts on Future at Strategic Planning Meeting

The future of Greene County, current services, future service priorities, and how the library can support local organizations were the topics at hand during a strategic planning workshop sponsored by the Bloomfield-Eastern Greene County Public Library on Tuesday.

The future of Greene County, current services, future service priorities, and how the library can support local organizations were the topics at hand during a strategic planning workshop sponsored by the Bloomfield-Eastern Greene County Public Library on Tuesday.

Library Director Cassandra Thompson opened the meeting up with an overview of the organization’s mission and vision statements and noted some great things about Greene County.

There’s a lot of community pride in Greene County, she said, also noting it to be a beautiful place to live with a higher than average graduation rate, among other high points.

Challenges in Greene County were also noted.

“In 2012, we had a 9.3 percent unemployment rate,” Thompson said, adding that the county also has a considerable skills mismatch with less than 18 percent of the population holding post-secondary degrees.
Those in attendance added to the discussion by offering feedback regarding Greene County.

One participant said that Greene County lacks affordable mid-level housing, while another person said that the area has a lack of jobs and opportunity.

Reasons to support your local library were also given.

“Libraries provide invaluable service to the communities they serve,” Thompson said, citing equal access to information, lifelong learning, and preservation of culture and history, among others.

She also brought up the topic of libraries and the economy.

“In times of economic turn-down, people reduce their entertainment budget and turn to the library,” Thompson said. “Libraries are part of the solution when a community is struggling economically.”

According to the 2012 State of America’s Libraries Report, almost 60 percent of public libraries reported flat or decreased operating budgets in 2010-2011, Thompson said.

“We are being asked to do more with less,” she added, noting a projected 8 percent budget decrease over the next three years.

Despite the decrease in budgets, libraries are seeing an increase in usage.

“Nearly 73 percent of libraries are their community’s only source of free computer and Internet access,” Thompson said. “This number increases to 82 percent in rural areas.”

Libraries also increase property value, bring people together, and cost the taxpayer about $28 per year.

Feedback for improvements was also given by community members during the meeting.

Some of the community feedback included the following: Using the library as a forum for politicians and elected officials; allowing college representatives to visit with informational workshops; offering debt and budget workshops; offering cultural and music programs; and creating additional partnerships with community organizations, among many others.

A strategic plan survey, which welcomes patron feedback, is here: http://www.bloomfield.lib.in.us/survey/