Nov. 5 has come and gone, and the board of trustees for Delta County Libraries is faced with some very tough decisions based on voters' disapproval of the library district ballot issue.Although the overwhelming support the libraries received throughout the process was encouraging, the issue was not successful, and the library district is faced with reduced property tax revenue for 2014.
"We are truly appreciative of all of the support we received from the whole community, including members of our library board, the campaign organization, all our friends and foundation organizations, and the entire library staff and family," said board president Ann Murphy. "Now our board and staff are making some tough decisions that will truly impact the entire community.
"We will have less revenue in 2014, so we are going to have to evaluate everything that we are doing to identify ways that we can weather the storm," stated Murphy. "We are going to have to look at library services, programs, hours of operation, collections and technology, and begin to pare them down to match the funding we have available. The budget and resulting service cuts will be noticeable, and we truly feel bad for the community, because we know these services are an essential part of people's lives. Our staff will be working with us to make decisions which will ensure quality service."
At this point, the library board has approved reductions in library hours throughout the district. The new hours will begin in January. In order to avoid layoffs, all current and upcoming vacancies will be reviewed to see if the district can reduce staffing costs. Currently two vacancies will not be filled. As well, reductions have been made in all areas of the total budget for 2014.
"We simply cannot continue the same levels of service with less money to work with," Murphy explained.
"Many people equate the library with books, but we offer so much more than that," stated district director Annette Choszczyk. The services she is speaking of range from online resources and downloadable materials, to public computers and programs of all kinds.
"The libraries offer free services that cannot be found anywhere else in this county or the next in many cases," added Choszczyk. "Our team works hard to meet the needs of the community and many of those services will be negatively impacted. We understand our community is going through changes, and some very hard times, and we are going to do our best to continue to offer support and resources to those who need it, under the constraints we will face. We will offer the best service we can afford."
Another challenge the district faces is caring for buildings as they get older and need maintenance. The Delta location is a historic building and is currently being repaired via a state historic fund grant, but it, along with the other locations, is in need of continuing basic maintenance such as computer and equipment repair, carpet replacement, infrastructure and lighting upgrades, all of which require additional funding.
At this time the library district board of trustees has not decided if or when it might attempt to go back to the voters.blog comments powered by Disqus