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Ratepayers have choice to lift library staff numbers

South Wairarapa ratepayers are being asked whether they want to fund a pool of casual library staff to reduce library closures due to insufficient staffing.

The funding of $165k is included in the proposed annual plan budget for 2023-24 and allows for a pool of three casual staff to cover leave.

There are currently 10 full-time staff working across the three libraries in South Wairarapa and one in Carterton [the two districts have a shared library service].

Each library requires at least two librarians to remain open.

Over the past year, there were many days when staff were on leave – due to illness, for training, or time off – so the council used a casual pool of staff to keep the libraries open, according
to the consultation document.

“The cost of using casual staff came to $165,000, which was unbudgeted.

“This year, we are proposing that we put that $165,000 into the 2023-24 budget in order to keep our libraries going
in the same way we did this year.

“The alternative is that we do not add $165,000 to the budget, and we do not fund a pool of casual staff when we have permanent staff on leave.

“This will result in more days when our libraries are closed due to insufficient staffing.”

Removing the funding from the budget would result in a weekly rates reduction of $0.55 for each ratepayer – $28.60 a year.

Public consultation on the council’s Annual Plan closes on May 27, and public hearings are scheduled for June 8 and 9.

Council will deliberate on the submissions on June 14, and the Annual Plan is set to be adopted on June 28. – NZLDR

    Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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