GC Library District rethinks budget for 2021 | SkyHiNews.com

GC Library District rethinks budget for 2021

Polly Gallagher
Executive director of GCLD

In August, the first official 2021 Grand County Library District budget discussion occurred. The philosophy determined for building the budget from the GCLD Board of Trustees was to develop a zero-based, balanced budget.

This means that the budget is built from no past budget, starting at no services, resources, or events, and we create from there. Also, it means we do not use reserves and operate from the funds we will receive from our property tax base, the Friends, and GCLD Foundation in the 2021 year.

In preparing the budget, a word frequently heard was capacity — build in the capacity needed to support the staff, facilities, services, and resources provided by GCLD. Consideration of the needs outlined in the Community Needs Assessment occurred with an eye on access, diversity, and the library as an essential service to the community. The 2021 proposed draft budget was shared at the Oct. 13 regular GCLD Board of Trustees meeting.

During the shutdown from the pandemic, an increase to collections, specifically digital resources, was provided. Through the Community Needs Assessment, a request from our digital users to continue this higher level of funding, as well as a need from our patrons to continue to diversify our collection to include more in the “Library of Things” were taken into consideration. The proposed 2021 budget includes funds to meet those needs as well as additional digital children’s literature to support needs expressed through our schools and families participating in online or home schooling.

Another item in the 2021 proposed budget includes an increase to costs of sanitizing and cleaning our facilities. Library hours have been reduced in order to balance the needs of our community to perform additional health and safety guidelines with services being offered. Quarantining of materials, continual sanitizing of high touch areas in our facilities, and work flows have all been impacted. As we adjust to the additional use and cost of cleaning supplies and our need to keep our community safe, this expense is one we need in order to obtain additional support for our library staff so we can return our hours, at minimum, to pre-COVID times.

Like many in America, we are seeing a continued increase in health insurance costs as well as increases to general items we refer to as the cost of doing business. These increased costs are part of the increased operating expenses in the proposed budget.

Unlike most years, we expect to see some changes in the budget proposed at last Wednesday’s meeting due to updated revenue numbers, final work from our Job Analysis Committee regarding an updated salary scale, and potential increase of coronavirus relief funds for special districts.

As part of the discussion, an emphasis on forecasting took place. Consideration for worst case scenario of future funding, including a significant reduction to income to GCLD, along with other special districts, if Amendment B fails. Over the past several years, GCLD has worked to build up an economic stabilization fund knowing that our rural resort economy can be a roller coaster and the Gallagher Amendment is a contributing factor to the screaming drops of the roller coaster. While the Board of Trustees took a moment to celebrate the current secure position of GCLD, the potential reduction in RAR in 2022 is sobering, potentially equating to about $200,000 in income loss and at what point will that reduction stop?

The 2021 proposed budget is currently available for review on http://www.gcld.org under “The Library District” and posted in our District Office window for viewing. We look forward to our Tuesday, Nov. 17 virtual meeting at 5:30 p.m. to conduct public hearing on the budget. Access information to that meeting will be available on our website.

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