ROME CITY — The Kendallville Public Library board of trustees voted Tuesday night to increase the 2019 pay grades for staff positions in an effort to retain employees and attract applicants for current openings.

The new pay rates will take effect with the Sept. 9 pay period. All wages for current staff members will be adjusted to reflect the new rates, library director Katie Mullins said.

Board members, meeting at the Limberlost branch in Rome City, learned that the minimum wage rates for some positions had not changed in 10 years. They discussed the goals of making wage levels competitive and in line with what similar-sized libraries in a six-county area are paying for similar positions.

Mullins said seven staff members have left in 2019 to take higher-paying jobs elsewhere. Job vacancies are posted on Mullins suggested that the board may want to consider adding a longevity incentive in the future to encourage staff members to stay.

In other business, the board authorized Mullins to advertise the proposed 2020 budget and notice to taxpayers online at to fulfill state requirements.

The proposed 2020 budget is a total of $2,010,379. A required public hearing will be held Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Kendallville Public Library during the board meeting.

Mullins said her 2020 priorities are landscaping improvements, parking lot improvements, improved personnel and benefits services, technology upgrades and changes, and a deposit to the library’s rainy day fund.

Board members approved, then signed, a resolution for a commitment to join the Indiana State Library Consortium, which provides internet access at a discounted rate to libraries, in exchange for fulfilling record-keeping and reporting requirements. Mullins described the discount as “substantial.”

In building updates, the board heard that a metal fence will be installed at the Kendallville building for $3,500 to protect the air conditioning chillers from vandalism. The chillers were damaged when vandals threw rocks into the fan blades, breaking them.

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