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2008 BUDGET REQUEST INTRODUCTION

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On August 15, 2007, the Library transmitted its 2008 budget request to Erie County’s Division of Budget, Management and Finance.  This request was developed under the direction of the Library Board’s Budget and Finance Committee pursuant to Resolution 2007-30, adopted in public session by the full Board of Trustees on July 19th.

Click here to view the 2008 Budget Request including charts and graphs (PDF)

The attached budget schedules and narratives produce a 2008 budget request consistent with the criteria outlined by the Library Board of Trustees, specifically to:

  1. Maintain 2007 service and staffing levels consistent with the Library Board’s adopted strategic plan;
  2. Develop a base budget request that balances using a $22,171,833 Library Property Tax allocation (unchanged from the Adopted 2007 Erie County Budget); and
  3. Develop a progressive series of service restoration options for 2008 and beyond that allow the downsized Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System to successfully meet continued strong public demand within the context of constrained Erie County resources.

2007 Adopted Budget Turned a Corner

In adopting the 2007 budget, Erie County and its public library system turned a corner.  After two years of crisis, we began to restore what had been reduced and repair what had been broken.  We took the first steps toward making our new, leaner library system more responsive and more effective, so it could better serve the diverse needs of our diverse community.  While many still depend on the Library for traditional resources and services such as books, magazines, media and general reference, more and more of our residents rely on their local library as their touchstone to technology and their onramp to the Internet.  We need to respond to new needs as well as old needs in a constantly changing environment.

For the first time in three years, the County’s 2007 budget increased B&ECPL’s annual appropriation by $500,000, and the Library used those funds to expand hours of public access, especially at libraries that had failed to meet New York State minimum standards in 2006.  The funding has been put to good use and is yielding positive results.  Year-to-date circulation through July has risen 1%, while year-to-date public access computer use has soared more than 24% across the System (up 13% among suburban contracting libraries, 24% at the Central Library and a staggering 65% increase among Buffalo branch libraries).  This reinforces both the continuing need for basic library services and the growing importance of the Library in bridging the “digital divide.”  We have much farther to go, but we are moving in the right direction, and we are grateful for the County’s partnership and continuing support.

Moving Forward – 2008 and Beyond

This past June, Legislature Chair Lynn Marinelli, in a column published in the Bee Group newspapers, addressed some questions and misperceptions about library funding in Erie County.  She also asked:  “…the library board and staffs [to] prepare a realistic neighborhood services restoration plan that covers a three-year timeline.  The prioritized and itemized local libraries funding restoration plan would also address compliance with specific state libraries regulations.”  She further stated:  “There will be a necessity for extensive deliberations on a … plan, which has community support but does not raise false expectations.”

To address this concern, in conjunction with the Library Board’s direction to develop a progressive series of service restoration options for 2008 and beyond that will allow the downsized Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System to successfully meet continued strong public demand within the context of constrained Erie County resources, this budget request includes a three-level set of service restoration proposals.  A separate Services Restoration Request document describes each proposed restoration by location, benefit to the public and cost.

Multi-Tiered Service Restoration Plan

To address the situation proactively, this budget request contains groupings of service restoration proposals, starting with high impact restorations to allow current library locations to provide more effective public access and service and progressing through a series of service restorations that will pilot and ultimately expand alternate service provision models.  They are designed to be implemented sequentially over the course of one to three budget years depending upon the County’s funding situation and other evolving needs.   The Library will work to maximize the impact of any funding provided following the priorities summarized below.  The proposals are designed to be as cost-effective as possible and, if all were approved, the leaner Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System will be better equipped to meet continued high public demand for service at a cost that would still be LESS THAN THE TAXPAYERS PROVIDED IN THE YEAR 2000!   These proposals are summarized in the table below:

BASE BUDGET

2007 Erie County Property Tax for Library Purposes:

$22,171,833

LEVEL 1:

Restorations to Allow Current Library Locations to Provide More Effective Access/Service

$818,030

LEVEL 2:

Restorations to Reinforce Services and Pilot Alternate Service Provision Models

$800,081

LEVEL 3:

Restorations to Expand Alternate Service Provision Models

$869,302

RESTORED BUDGET

2008 Erie County Property Tax for Library Purposes:

$24,659,246

Should all be approved, the revenue impact of these requests would be to restore $2,487,413 to the Library Tax.  Detail is provided in the attached Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, 2008 Budget, Service Restoration Requests.  To facilitate budget preparation, the cost of the proposed restoration program is included in one expense line, SAP #504999 Service Restoration Request, with the offsetting revenue requested added to SAP #400020 Library Real Property Tax.

BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS SUMMARY (82 page PDF)

The budget highlights document details the recommended 2008 operating and grants budget and includes:

  1. Resolution 2007-30 B&ECPL 2008 Budget Request
  2. A 10 Year Chart Showing County Support for Library Operations and Materials
  3. County “Form 4 Appropriation Detail” Report
  4. B&ECPL 2008 Service Restoration Request
  5. Budget Narrative
  6. Forms 1 and 2, Budget Estimate Forms
  7. Operating Budget Revenue and Expense Schedules
  8. Library Grants – Narratives

For an overview of an alternate service provision model included in the Library’s Service Restoration Request, mall based libraries, please see:

http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA498837.html