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Tax revenue accounts for majority of library’s budget

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Will continue discussion today

By Calen McKinney

Tax revenue accounts for nearly all of the Taylor County Public Library’s budget. And library board members say they won’t set a rate this year that will generate more revenue than last year’s rate.

A proposed 2013-2014 budget for the library was discussed at a special meeting of the board on Thursday.

The 2013-2014 budget totals $795,100, up from $669,088 for the current fiscal year budget.

Tax revenue will account for $785,000 of the $795,100 figure. Library Director Julia Turpin said she doesn’t want to see the library levy any more taxes or increase its rate.

“We’re pretty healthy financially,” she said.

The increase in the 2012-2013 compared to the 2013-2014 budget accounts for an increase in operational costs, Turpin said.

Board Chair John Miller said members said last year they wouldn’t set a rate that will increase revenue this year if the library is financially stable. He said it seems there has been an increase in property values, which means more tax revenue will be collected, even if the library’s rate stays the same.

“As things bounce back, it’s good for us,” Turpin said.
The library set a rate that increased revenue by 4 percent last year. The rate, which is set each fall, is 5.5 cents for real property and 9.23 cents for personal property.

Turpin said she anticipates the library will have at least $500,000 to carry over from this fiscal year into the next. State library officials have suggested that libraries have at least that much on hand, she said.

Board Treasurer Pat Webster asked if library staff members have asked if they will receive a raise this year. Turpin said she hasn’t discussed that with employees because she wants to discuss it with board members first.

She said she based this year’s salaries on a Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives survey done to determine what library workers make. She said she wants to base salaries on level of education and experience, years of service and job responsibilities.

Board Secretary Lateshia Johnson said she believes the library’s staff members were being underpaid. Miller said the board must be careful with taxpayers’ money, but should also pay employees a fair wage.

Turpin said raises included in the budget aren’t across-the-board increases. Some employees will receive more of an increase than others, depending on the factors she mentioned.

Turpin said the budget for new books and technology has been increased a bit in an attempt to keep the library up-to-date and relevant. All debt payments have been removed from the budget, she said, because the library doesn’t owe any money.

Turpin said she would like to see the library carry over at least $500,000 each fiscal year and put any additional carryover in its savings account.

Turpin said the library was recently awarded a grant that will pay for it to provide a free summer lunch program. Anyone younger than 18 will be able to get free lunch, Turpin said, and those older than 18 can get a lunch for $2. The library will begin promoting the program soon, she said.

Board members will vote on the budget at their regular meeting today at noon at the library. It is open to the public.

A breakdown of the budget will be printed after it is approved.

After the budget is approved, Turpin said, it will be sent to Taylor County Fiscal Court members for their review.