In the past five years he has been serving on the Montville Township Public Library Board of Trustees, Don Kostka said he has been most proud to see the way trustees have come together to achieve fiscal responsibility.
"Tonight is the last night and I'm just happy that I was part of a group of nine that made a difference in Montville," Kostka said Monday night before his final board meeting as a trustee.
Monday's meeting was the last of the year for the trustees, with new appointments becoming effective in 2013. Kostka, a commiteeman on the Montville Township Committee, was re-elected to a second term on that governing body in November. Although he was elected to his first committee term while serving on the library board, he said he was permitted to finish out the term he was serving, but not be re-appointed per the board's bylaws.
Prior to his five-year term, Kostka had experience on Montville's library board. He served for three-years, during an unexpired term, in the 1990s, he said. But times, and library issues, were different then.
"Then, they were looking at building the building and building a collection," he said. "When I got on the other time, it was 'OK we have this, now what do we spend money on.'"
Kostka said one of the more controversial issues of the past few years during his term on the board was when an idea was circulating about creating a coffee shop at the library. While it may have seemed like a good idea to some, Kostka said he was concerned with how it would impact the business community and other coffee shop businesses that pay taxes in Montville and are worried about making a profit. The idea was generated by a concept of providing educational materials to the community in a different format, he said, but ultimately, it did not move forward.
Kostka also recalled a time when the library board was considering installing new carpeting, something that, at first, was believed to be needed. Through what Kostka described as prudent efforts made by trustees in insisting that more than one price quote be obtained for the project, Kostka said the trustees found they were able to clean the carpets and not completely replace them for a much lower cost. Examples like this lead Kostka to believe that Montville's library operates more cost-efficiently than others.
"Everybody's funded the same and everybody's playing with the same kind of dollars, it's just that we were very careful with our money and others may not be," he said.
Kostka said he was thankful to Ed Ernstrom, who encouraged him to serve on the library board during his most recent term, and to all the past board presidents, who he said have led the library in a positive direction and done "a fabulous job." He is also grateful for the work of Library Director Allan Kleiman.
"I'm going to miss the meetings," Kostka said. "I think I've made some really good friendships with fellow trustees. I'm really happy with our director that we have and the staff-I'm just really happy where we are today as opposed to where we were."