Library

Cumberland County Library System eyes reserve fund to cover 2014 expenses

2013-12-05T15:45:00Z 2013-12-09T16:13:44Z Cumberland County Library System eyes reserve fund to cover 2014 expensesBy Christen Croley, The Sentinel The Sentinel
December 05, 2013 3:45 pm  • 

CARLISLE — Cumberland County Library System Executive Director Jonelle Darr said Thursday’s request to transfer $400,000 from the reserve fund “is just to say afloat.”

Darr requested permission from commissioners to draw on its nearly $2 million contingency fund, which was established in 2004 as a way to sustain the library system over the next decade.

The amount is 29 percent higher than last year’s approved request, even though the budget is 2 percent smaller than last year, Darr said.

“I’m concerned that the gap is widening between what our revenue is and what our expenses are,” she said.

The request comes two weeks after Darr and other library board members requested a 3 percent increase in the library real estate tax to offset state funding reductions of $2.1 million.

Commissioners denied that request, leaving the library system with an anticipated $100,000 operating deficit in 2014.

The new request, Darr says, will help sustain the system another year, while library officials consider what cuts will be made in 2015.

“The budget we put forward in 2014 is about treading water,” Darr said.

In the meantime, Darr says the library has employed “aggressive

cost-saving measures,” including eliminating six positions, reducing operating hours, installing updated and more affordable technology and reducing library materials by 6 percent.

“One of the things that will become visible to people will be that we are upgrading our computer system that we are using for catalog,” she said.

Darr said the new self-check circulation kiosks also allow the libraries to function with less staff.

Overall, residents won’t feel the system’s dwindling reserves, for now.

“The amount of money we will be supporting local library services with won’t change,” she said. “It makes for an even tighter fiscal situation than what we had in 2013.”

Commissioner Gary Eichelberger said Thursday the commissioners’ refusal to consider the tax increase will “impact the system’s long-range planning and thus impact when service cuts would be made.”

Commissioners did not discuss the request at Thursday’s meeting, and commissioners Jim Hertzler and Barb Cross did not return requests for comment.

Commissioners will vote Monday on the library’s request.

Email Christen Croley at ccroley@cumberlink.com or follow her on Twitter @SentinelCroley


Posted earlier on Cumberlink.com:

CARLISLE - Cumberland County Library System Executive Director Jonelle Darr asked commissioners Thursday for permission to transfer $400,000 from its reserve fund to its operating budget to cover 2014 expenses.

The request comes two weeks after Darr and other library board members requested a 3 percent increase in the library real estate tax to offset state funding reductions of $1.2 million.

Commissioners denied that request, leaving the library system with an anticipated $100,000 operating deficit in 2014.

"This will allow us to maintain the level of distributions we have paid to our members libraries and allow our system headquarters to provide the same level of services," Darr said Thursday.

Commissioner Gary Eichelberger said that the commissioners' refusal to consider the tax increase will "impact the system's long range planning and thus impact when service cuts would be made."

This article was edited to reflect changes at 8:43 a.m. on Dec. 6.

Copyright 2015 The Sentinel. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(4) Comments

  1. Believer2012
    Report Abuse
    Believer2012 - December 06, 2013 12:50 pm
    Why in an age of more technology did the Bosler Library need the big expansion? Think that maybe the egos of board members needed bolstered with a new grand addition? Couldn't that money been used to fund the operating budgets for several years to come? It's time to stop going to the taxpayer well and let those who use the service pay for it! An alleged increased service load doesn't mean that a majority of taxpayers wish to have their taxes raised.
  2. Rational1
    Report Abuse
    Rational1 - December 06, 2013 9:21 am
    Not sure where the notion that "most people" don't want the library system supported. The increasing service load contradicts that. Cumberland County has an efficient jewel of a library system that well serves the County at a very small cost. So many things of great value take years of hard work to build - and may easily be lost due to inattention. The purpose of government is to provide that which the citizens need and value but cannot individually fund e.g. roads, bridges...and libraries.
  3. Just truth
    Report Abuse
    Just truth - December 06, 2013 9:07 am
    Perhaps the board of directors needs revamped. Where was this thought process when the big addition was put on Bosler ? The county commissioners should hold fast and not increases any library taxes. Let then use their reserve and when it's gone, it's gone. Then they will be forced to make the necessary cuts if they want to stay afloat. Libraries are necessary and serve a good function but they are going way overboard with their spending ways.
  4. my2cents
    Report Abuse
    my2cents - December 05, 2013 8:03 pm
    Two county commissioners figured out that most citizens do not want library taxes raised, PERIOD (a la Obama). It also is not wise to take money from the reserves to cover operating expenses. Rather, the library management needs to make the tough choices of what services to cut back and do that in a manner that doesn't serve to purposely enrage the public by cutting the core projects of a library in hopes that citizens will bring political pressure on elected officials to raise taxes.
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