Fayette ponders, ‘What if we ran and paid for our own library?’

In the wake of the Flint River Regional Library System cutting its funding of the director’s position at the Fayette County Library, the County Commission wants to look anew at the possibility of bolting from FRRLS.

Currently the county pays about $75,000 a year for FRRLS services, and the cities of Peachtree City and Tyrone pay about $17,000 each, officials said.

The county and cities pay for all other library staffers, so the question remains: what does Fayette County get from FRRLS in exchange for its annual payments?

The bigger question is whether it will be cheaper for the county and cities to fund their own operations instead of depending on FRRLS for services including those of the PINES network, which allows for intra-library loans and use of the Galileo computer system.

At last week’s commission meeting, it was clear that the recent de-funding of county Library Director Christeen Snell’s position has not set well with commissioners.

Commissioner Steve Brown asked if there was room to negotiate the matter, but Commissioner Lee Hearn said if they were de-funding Snell’s position, that option is not very favorable.

County Manager Jack Krakeel noted that two years ago, the county cut funding to all outside agencies by 4 percent, including the regional library system. The response from FRRLS was to eliminate the courier service for intra-library loans, Krakeel added.

Brown said he was skeptical that the county would be able to fully fund the local library efforts without FRRLS.

“I just think the economic timing on this precludes us from doing it,” Brown said. “I see a huge financial tidal wave to take this on without state funding.”

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