Rockwall County commissioners soon will have to make decisions on recommendations to outsource for custodial and library services.

County Judge Jerry Hogan mentioned outsourcing as a cost-saving measure for the county on May 31 during a workshop meeting. The topic could come to a vote soon during a regular meeting of commissioners.

Hogan said outsourcing could save the county $458,000 the next fiscal year — $300,000 for library services and $158,000 for custodial services.

The county judge said he believes the library decision is “a very wise business decision for us to make.”

And regarding the outsourcing possibility for custodial services, Hogan said, “That, to me, is a very significant business decision that’s easy to make.”

Hogan said he has talked with private companies the last five or six months about third party management of the Rockwall County Library. He has talked extensively with Library Systems & Services (LSSI)

LSSI, he said, would keep all current programs and hours. All current employees would be interviewed for possible positions with LSSI.

“These guys are devoted to not only provide service, they also are devoted to programs, the collection and it’s an operation I think we can benefit from,” Hogan said.

Hogan said he will recommend that commissioners consider a request for proposals involving library services.

“The next time we can formally meet and vote on something, I’m going to offer that as a motion, that we do go out on an RFP (request for proposals) basis, asking for third party vending on the library because there’s an opportunity here to keep the same level of service at a very significant financial decrease,” Hogan said.

A three- to five-year contract could be considered, according to Hogan.

Commissioner Lorie Grinnan said there is a considerable amount of information on the internet involving outsourcing for library services. She said there’s a “strong lobby” by the library profession, which opposes the outsourcing movement for libraries.

Grinnan urged commissioners to conduct research on their own.

According to LSSI’s Web site, the company has partnered with communities throughout the nation since 1981 to provide library outsourcing for new and existing libraries, as well as contract library services for federal agencies. LSSI currently provides library management services across 13 public library systems and 63 branch operations in the U.S.

LSSI provides library management in Farmers Branch and Lancaster, according to Hogan.

On the custodial services topic, Hogan said the county now pays $65,000 for custodial services at the library and $112,000 for “in-house people” to clean the other county buildings. The total could jump to $289,000 during the county’s 2011-12 fiscal year when $112,000 is added for custodial services at the new Rockwall County Courthouse.

“We went out on a third party contract,” Hogan said. “We have gotten answers back from bidders. That $289,000 has been reduced to $131,000 for all the buildings in the county. That, to me, is a very significant business decision that’s easy to make.”

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