Highland County Library requests more funding
Monterey, VA – Along with many other county offices and organizations, the Highland County Public Library is being hurt by the nationwide recession and statewide budget reductions. The library’s overhead costs have increased significantly while the funding from the county has stayed the same for several years. Librarian Tomi Herold discusses some of the challenges the library is facing.
“If you’ve been following the county budget process in Highland County, you may have noticed that the library has been conspicuous in our request for more funding, since most county agencies have only asked for level funding,” she said. “I want to provide some context to county taxpayers so that you’ll understand our request. The Highland County Public Library has not asked the county supervisors for an increase in funding since 2004. In those eight intervening years, energy costs, utility costs and labor costs have risen significantly. We’ve tried to absorb those costs and cover them with local fundraising.”
Mrs. Herold continues by discussing how increasing costs are impacting the library’s budget and the specific budget increases being requested from the county.
“In the past two years, we have fallen short and run deficit budgets, reaching into library reserves to balance the budget,”she said. “This is not sustainable. The average public library in Virginia is provided 70-percent of their operating budget by the local government. Our local government is providing 42-percent of our operating budget. This specific situation – we aspire to be average. For fiscal 2012 to 2013, the library requested, in addition to our current funding, $2,000 for electricity; $3,000 for heating oil; $1,000 for custodial costs and $5,000 for clerk compensation. “
At the present time, the proposed county budget includes the library’s additional funding request. The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the county budget at one of its June meetings.
The library has been successful in raising funds in the local community and has received grants to fund specific programs, but now, after 8 years without an increase in county funds, it needs some additional help from the taxpayers in Highland County. Mrs. Herold sums up the difficulties the library is having funding basic overhead expenses.