Library officials make effort to solve budget woes
Appeal Staff Writer
With a little trimming and a $25,000 allocation from the city, the Carson City Public Library might be able to alleviate their budget predicament for the upcoming year.
An earlier proposal made by the Library Board of Trustees, who met Thursday evening, made deeper reductions in operating expenses and eliminated a part-time janitorial position from their proposed $1.7 million spending plan.
That job now will be retained. Proposed cuts from the budget focus on expenses, such as postage, employee travel and training, and total $5,400.
The state calls for 10 percent of public libraries’ budgets to be devoted to books and materials before allowing them to seek state and federal grants. Earlier proposals didn’t meet this standard, but this latest plan does – $171,000 would be spent on books.
The city’s budget team, a group of upper managers representing an array of departments, suggested the library’s book budget be brought up to state standards by adding $25,000 from a fund set aside for grant matches.
This plan is among many supplemental spending requests to be decided by the Board of Supervisors during their meeting May 4. If the supervisors decide not to provide the money to the library, the board will hold a special meeting to decide whether to protest the decision before the supervisors approve the plan on May 15.
Budget-motivated cuts that reduce services could cause the Carson City Library to be ineligible for grants that complement the books budget, according to the state.
The budget team also recommended the library undergo a performance audit on its operations. It would be done by a consultant chosen by the city’s internal auditor and be paid for by the city, not the library, and include analysis of such things as efficiency, customer service and use of technology.
The library also is seeking federal money to finance a study, though this one would focus on needs during the next 30 years.
A long-term study would help educate the public should the library pursue a ballot initiative in 2008 that would provide supplemental money to finance library operations and, possibly, help to build “a new state-of-the-art public library,” said Sally Edwards, library director.
“The community has grown a lot, but the library facility hasn’t kept up,” she said.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.