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Treasurer says funds for library won't be wasted

By Deangelo McDaniel · 340-2469

HARTSELLE — The Friends of the Hartselle Public Library had $24,276 in an account on Dec. 31, 2006.

But the money didn’t get there overnight, and Carolyn Halford, who is treasurer, said the organization isn’t going to waste it.

“This has accumulated over 25 years from selling a lot of used books and we just don’t throw it away,” Halford said. She was responding to questions about the organization’s financial statement.

For the first time since it incorporated, the nonprofit group was required to submit financial information to City Hall.

The city’s 2006 audit said the council should require any civic organization using public property to provide financial statements. Friends uses a room in the library to sell used books.

Halford said this is the first time the council has requested financial records.

William Puckett, a Hartselle certified public accountant, prepared the report in August.

Financial records

His report covers financial records through Dec. 31. 2006, and shows Friends with $24,276 in cash assets. Used book sales generated $8,683.72 in 2006, while the expenditures totaled $5,549.84, according to the financial statement.

“We have not gone out and just found things to spend the money on,” Halford said.

Mayor Dwight Tankersley said the council is not questioning how the Friends uses the money because it’s not public funds.

“That is their money, and we’re not in control of it,” he said. “Our auditor said they should provide the city a financial statement and we have that.”

The list of expenditures shows the organization spent more on landscaping and catering in 2006 than it did on books.

Friends paid Hartselle Beautification $2,046 for landscaping and the Oden House $1,000 in November for catering when the city renamed the library the William Bradford Huie Library of Hartselle.

Some of the other expenditures included $1,250 for a grant match, $600 for library cards and more than $400 on items for summer reading programs.

Halford said the Friends formed to provide extra things the library needs.

“It wasn’t to replace the budget,” she said.

Hartselle left the Wheeler Basin Regional Library system in October 2005. When making the decision, the council pledged its financial support for the library. The city provides Librarian Emily Love with a budget in excess of $100,000. Included in this budget are Love’s salary and money for two part-time employees.

Halford said the Friends have always funded requests from the librarian. Love agreed.

“Basically, if I need something, I ask them and they provide it,” Love said. “They have never turned me down.”

The library will get a major technological boost soon that will come at no cost to the taxpayers.

“We’re trying to figure out where to put additional computers that would be beneficial to all the citizens of Hartselle,” Halford said.

Halford said the current computers are almost always occupied and have time limits.

“We want to give our citizens more access,” she said.

Love said she is preparing a list that includes adding, an outside bench, and tote bags and pens with the library’s name on them.

“This will give our library some name recognition,” she said.

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