29 Jul From the Director: Funding Your Library
The Shelby County Public Library receives most of its operating funds from property taxes. This year, the library’s property tax rate is 3.30 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The property tax rate is set each year by the Library Board of Trustees, using rates calculated by the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives with a choice of a compensating rate — which produces roughly the same amount of revenue as the prior fiscal year — or a 4% increase in revenue.
The Shelby County Public Library Board of Trustees has never raised the property tax rate higher than what was set by the public in 1983, making SCPL the only library taxing district in the state that has not gone above the petition rate. The motor/vehicle tax rate is constant, at 3.5 cents per $100 of assessed value. The remainder of the library’s operating funds comes from donations, grants, interest, and overdue fines. The Kentucky State Legislature dissolved state aid to public libraries in the legislative session before last and did not add the aid back in this legislative session.
SCPL operates on a fiscal year that runs from July 1–June 30 of each year. The Library Board of Trustees reviews and approves the budget prior to the start of each fiscal year. Each year, an independent audit is conducted on the Library’s financial statements, internal controls, and compliance with government accounting standards.
The budget is the principal management tool of the Library. It establishes priorities for the upcoming year and provides an opportunity to evaluate current services against the costs necessary to pay for them. By looking at the budget as a forecast of an action plan in financial terms, consideration is given to the future development and security of the Library. Budgets should be thought of not as a way of limiting expenditures but as a management tool for obtaining the most productive and effective use of an organization’s resources. A carefully developed budget will ensure that available funds are effectively utilized to realize the library’s service objectives. Our current Long Range Plan makes this step of management much easier, because the LRP identifies our community’s needs, and the library’s services and resources required to meet those needs. In the coming year, we will be focusing on the renovation of the Library, beginning with the expansion of the Youth Services Department, enhancing the Kentucky Room, and creating additional private study rooms, among other changes.
We hope to see you soon!
Pamela W. Federspiel
Pamela W. Federspiel is the Director of the Shelby County Public Library, a position she has held since 1991. Reach her by email at email@example.com or by phone at (502) 633-3803.
This column was originally published in the August-September 2021 issue of From the Stacks, the SCPL newsletter. Click here to subscribe to the newsletter.