The proposed budget for the Community Library Network is raising Glen Seely's eyebrows.
Seely, one of the network's five board members, said he's concerned over a proposed 15 percent increase ($335,400) in total personnel costs.
Those include 2 to 7 percent raises for employees, an increase in hours for some workers and expanding benefits to where the network would pay for 25 percent of the health insurance cost for employee family members.
"We're jumping the moon on the total (personnel) line," Seely said. "We shouldn't be giving raises that can't be sustained in the coming years. Once you increase wages, it's very difficult to take them away.
"I'm going to ask the board if it will re-open the salary line again."
Employees don't have any cost for health care. Those who work 30 hours per week or more qualify for benefits.
The network has libraries in Hayden, Post Falls, Rathdrum, Spirit Lake, Athol, Harrison and Pinehurst. It also operates a bookmobile.
John Hartung, the network's director, said the budget process is in its preliminary stages and the proposal could change based on tax revenue from the county. Therefore, nothing is set in stone, he said.
"There's been a disagreement that board members are going to have to wrestle with," Hartung said. "But we're not even close to having a final proposed budget."
The board will hold a budget workshop today at 1 p.m. at the Hayden Library. Another workshop will be held on Aug. 5 from 2-4 p.m. in Hayden. The public hearing on the budget will be Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. in Hayden.
Board members Judy Meyer and Katie Blank declined to comment on Thursday until the revenue figures are updated.
All sides agree that employees should get a raise of some sort, but the rub will be on how much. Last year some of the network's employees were given merit raises and two years ago no raises were given.
Under the proposal, 13 employees would get a 7 percent hike, 36 employees 5 percent, 22 employees 4 percent, six employees 3 percent and 12 employees 2 percent.
Hartung said a firm budget proposal won't be reached until the Aug. 5 workshop at the earliest. If necessary, another workshop will be helped before the public hearing, he said.
The network's total budget is proposed to increase from $4.9 million this year to $5.2 million in fiscal 2014.