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March 1, 2010

Budget Planning Underway for 2011

For most local governments, the recent economic environment has been very difficult and the library is no exception. Declining property values will result in 11% fewer tax dollars coming to the library district for the current fiscal year which ends on September 30, 2010. While we have fewer dollars to spend, we have made every effort to minimize the impact on our services.

Since April 2009, we have had a hiring freeze and in December, 17 library employees accepted a voluntary separation incentive and retired. In fact, we currently have 100 fewer employees than we did last March. As a result of this attrition, we have had to reassign some employees to locations where the needs of the public are the greatest. Assessment of the greatest needs and possible reassignment of staff will need to be an ongoing process. Also, library staff are not receiving any pay raises during the current fiscal year and we do not anticipate giving raises for the next fiscal year.

Although our goal is to maintain the highest possible level of customer service even in these challenging times, it was necessary to make some changes that affected our patrons. Effective October 1, 2009 we stopped delivering entertainment DVD's and the Main Library started closing at 8:00pm Monday through Thursday rather than 9:00pm.

At the same time, library use peaks during down economic times as cash-strapped residents look to check out books and DVDs for free, or take free computer classes to help them update their skills so they can return to the workforce if unemployed. The demand for our services has never been higher and continues to increase. We are very pleased to serve as a valuable resource during these tough times.

The financial outlook for next fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2010, is not a sunny one. Projections from the State indicate we can expect another 10% decline in property values, which equates to approximately $3,200,000 less in revenue. While we won't know the exact amount of the reduction until the end of May, we have already started our planning for next year's budget. We will focus our planning efforts on areas of the budget that will least impact our services.

If you have any ideas, please let us know by contacting us at comments@ocls.info. I very much appreciate the feedback.

Mary Anne Hodel
Library Director/CEO

Posted by director at 9:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack