The Monroe County Library is facing a $600,000 budget shortfall for 2013, and Library Director Sara Laughlin is asking the county for permission to issue a bond to make up for the shortfall in library funding.
According to Laughlin, the shortfall comes because the library is about to pay off a bond that cost it $2 million a year. While the library’s yearly operating budget is around $7 million a year, the $2 million bond, funded through property taxes, raised the total library budget to around $9 million.
Because the library will no longer have the cost of the bond, it will receive a smaller percentage of County Option Income Tax funding, a loss of around $500,000 a year. That, added with property tax cap shortfalls and other funding losses caused by the economic downturn, means the library will need the $600,000 to continue its current level of service, according to Laughlin.
“Without that, if we lose the half a million dollars, we will be facing severe service cuts, there is just really no way around it,” she says.
Since the library cannot legally float a bond to cover operating expenses, it will be using the $600,000 for capital improvement projects including roof and elevator repairs.
County Councilman Ryan Langley says he is still gathering information on the new bond proposal, but the county should benefit from the library paying off its bond.
“We’re facing a shortage in our revenues, and we’re spending more than what our revenues are this year–about $3 million more, so any reduction in our tax burden to our citizens is a good one,” he says.
The county’s overall tax burden will be lowered by about $1.5 million if the bond passes.