Monday, April 4, 2011

Maintenance of Effort Elimination Threatens Already Bare-Bones Library Budgets

Libraries may suffer with proposed funding change. (Jackson County Chronicle, 3/31/2011)

Excerpt: Walker has proposed to eliminate a requirement where a local municipality must minimally fund its library at the average of the prior three years.

The move would help municipalities control costs and counter proposed reductions in state aids as Walker tries to close a $3.6 billion deficit, but it could cause some libraries to see drastic changes in funding. The budget also calls for a near 10 percent cut in library system aids next year and flat funding for 2013.

Counties still would be required to fund at least 70 percent of library service costs for county residents outside the library’s municipality. But that, too, could drop if spending and subsequent circulation decrease.

Jackson County has two public libraries: the Black River Falls Public Library and Taylor Memorial Library, both part of the Winding Rivers Library System. Gunderson and Karyn Schmidt, Taylor Memorial Library librarian, say the libraries have good working relationships with their respective municipality, and neither anticipates seeing large cuts in local funding if Walker’s budget is approved.

Still, they said there is a chance city and village budget money could be shifted as the city council and village board try to make up funding losses for other departments. Black River Falls Mayor Ron Danielson and Taylor Village President Daryl Boe could not be reached for comment in time for this story.

“The village has been extremely helpful,” Schmidt said. “I give them a barebones budget, and they give me that. I don’t ask for much.

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