A recently completed audit of the administrative component of the Cumberland County Library System for 2011 was presented to the county board of commissioners Thursday, and, despite current and future financial challenges, the administrative office of the library system was found to be in good financial position.

Cumberland County Library System Executive Director Jonelle Darr attributed the good report from Smith Elliot Kearns & Company, LLC to the foresight of both Cumberland County and library system leaders.

“We ended the year in good financial position, and I credit that to two things – one was ... a fund that we can rely upon when times get tough,” she said.

The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners in 2005 asked the library system board to establish its Strategic Development Fund and put any significant net funding increases from county and state sources into it.

The audit itself also praised the decision, stating, “as a result of the Cumberland County commissioners’ foresight ... the library system board had accumulated $2,557,467 in its Strategic Development Fund.”

“We started to rely upon that fund last year,” Darr said.

In order to balance its budget for 2011, the library system board took $80,288 from the fund and put it toward revenues in order to balance the library system budget.

The second thing Darr credited the good report to was the library system’s finance committee, comprised of all the treasurers of member library boards and chaired by the library system treasurer.

“We’ve worked really hard each year to do five year projections into the future,” she said.

Despite the good financial position, the library system finds itself in following 2011 with challenges ahead.

The library system board again had to dip into the Strategic Development Fund to balance the 2012 budget, that time taking out more than $200,000, and it expects to continue needing to do so.

“2014, 2015, those are going to be our pivot years, in terms of when critical decisions are going to be made about whether services need to be cut even further or whether there needs to be some kind of shift in where we obtain revenue,” Darr said.

By the numbers

According to the audit, both revenues and expenditures came in under budget in 2011.

Despite the library system board putting $80,288 from the Strategic Development Fund into the library system’s operating revenue, actual revenue was $59,762 under budget. Fortunately, actual expenditures for 2011 were $128,768 under budget.

The audit identified a number of reasons for both.

Revenue came in under budget as a result of funds from the state Department of Community and Economic Development being $20,000 less than expected and funds from the Cumberland County Library Tax being $43,367 less than expected.

Expenditures, meanwhile, were less than expected as a result of a number of factors, such as member libraries reducing the number of new materials they purchased in 2011 and reduced costs for replacement of 45 public Internet computers.

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