PCPL passes 2015 budget

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Putnam County Public Library Board conducted its 2015 budget projection hearing on Wednesday evening, during which it unanimously passed its budget with little discussion.

Starting off the meeting, the board held its public hearing for the 2015 budget proposal. Met with no public comments, the board moved to approve the budget, which will now go before the Putnam County Council.

Library Director Grier Carson gave a brief explanation of the budget, stating that the 2014 budget consisted $998,160 along with $43,000 from the rainy day fund thus making the $1,041,160.

"As new initiatives, renovation projects and staff development planning began to take shape, a fair amount of budget reallocation was necessary in order to balance this budget while still making the best use of the library's operating funds," Carson explained.

Carson went on to add that significant expenditures from the 2014 fiscal year included the renovation of the children's department, renovation of the library's main roof, adoption of a new video game collection, adoption of and transition to a new e-book platform, development and launch of a new PCPL website through WynWay Technologies, migration to Google Apps for Business, including email and collaborative office tools, upgrades to the library's network, including bandwidth increases and Wi-Fi management solutions, migration to new local history digital archives platforms and addition of new staff/positions/director and subsequent wage and benefits impact.

"In short, FY14 was a year of spending," Carson said. "As we look to build upon what we've started this year, our priorities for next year's operating fund represent more of a maintenance mentality."

Carson noted that next year's priorities include improving staff skills and standards of professionalism through new internal professional development programs and training cycles, increasing and diversifying library programming tied to the new children's area, Imagination Portal, upgrading and expanding portions of the library's technology assets, including desktop computers, tablets and other peripheral technologies as well as developing the new e-book collection and various website services.

"While a maintenance mentality signifies a comparatively conservative approach to budget management, fiscal year 2015 will likely play an even greater role in the growth of PCPL than 2014 did," Carson explained. "Launching new programs, platforms, physical spaces and the like can energize and engage both the public and the library's staff, but the true benchmark of success for these initiatives is the increased use of library resources and subsequent participation in various library events. In other words, the long-term impact of these improvements will determine value and success and so that's where FY15 will be focused."

The projected budget for the operating expenses for the library is $1,070,258, which is based on the state approved growth quotient of 2.7 percent. This budget's tax-based funds and related revenue will be capped at $99,258, which is less than 2014. However approximately $80,000 will be taken from rainy day to cover operating expenses, which is a direct result of decreased taxable funds and increased operating expenses due to staff additions and service improvements.

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