Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"urge restoration of funding to the Franklin Library"

The Milford Daily News reports on the library de-certification:
Franklin Library Director Felicia Oti today indicated she wanted meet with Franklin library trustees to discuss the situation, and steps that may be taken to appeal the decision, before commenting. 
The Franklin Library, famed as the home of the first public library collection, was decertified by the state board on Feb. 2. According to the Norfolk Library's advisory, the action was taken because of "inequitable budget cuts." 
"The Franklin Library was hit with a 30 percent cut in its funding this year. This is far below the threshold set by the Board of Library Commissioners to grant a waiver," the advisory states.

We are in the middle of FY 2012 with the budget cycle for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 already starting. At the State level, the Governor released his budget proposal. The House and Senate will follow to release their version which will likely result in a compromise among the three before heading to the Governors desk before Jun 30. The new fiscal year starts July 1.

In Franklin, the individual departments have already prepared their capital budget which will be coming to the Town Council soon. The individual operating budgets are usually reviewed by the Finance Committee over several budget hearings before they make their recommendation to the Town Council. The Town Council holds two budget hearings after which they vote to accept a budget.

The budget always has to be balanced. The question is how to reach the balance between expenses and expected revenue: continue to cut services or raise taxes. Any increase over and above the 2.5% requires an override vote. If there will be an override put to the voters, it should be scheduled in late May or early Jun to allow for the results to be incorporated into the budget.

As for the Library budget, given the cut of more than 30% that resulted in the de-certification we have our work cut out for us. The formula for Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) looks at the budget for the library averaged over a three year period and requiring a minimum of 2.5% increase. The MA Board of Library Commissioners also requires that a library for a community of our size be open a minimum of 6 days and a total of 59 hours. I recall that we are only open 5 days so we would need a waiver for that requirement even if we fix the overall budget requirement.

Updated:  8:00 AM 2/7/12

Library budget in 2009 = $888,335, 2010 = 778,622, 2011 = 700,415 and FY 2012 = 469,172
a 47% cut over the past 4 years.

Info provided in the joint budget workshop held on 1/11/12 with the Town Council, School Committee and Finance Committee.

The video from that meeting is available on demand here

Library Spending Waiver 
“Public libraries are required to meet certain spending levels each year in order to receive state aid. Under the current system, a municipality must fund its library at 2.5% above the average preceding three years‟ budgeted amounts. This is in order to provide balanced funding responsibilities within inter-library loan programs and continuity of library services from year to year. If a library cannot meet this requirement, it may petition for a one year waiver from the Board of Library Commissioners, but there are only 10 waivers issued per year. 
In this fiscal climate, many municipalities across the Commonwealth will have difficulty meeting this spending requirement. In order to prevent unnecessary reductions in state aid, the Commission would allow all communities to waive the spending requirements in fiscal year 2010 without approval from the Board. Communities choosing this option would be required to restore library spending to required levels within 24 months, and no waivers would be available to those communities who do not meet this stipulation.”
From the MA Board of Library Commissioners website

Additional details on the FY 2012 Waiver Process

Read more from the Milford Daily News here: http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/x1341762588/Franklin-library-is-decertified#ixzz1lgxpx6h5


  1. Technically that cut and decertification will mean it will cost us less to be able to be recertified according to the formula that they use.

    So unless my math is wrong, ((FY2010 + FY2011 + FY2012)/3)*1.025 means we only have to budget $665,638 to meet the requirement and then the only $627,035 the following year ((FY2011+FY2012+FY2013E)/3)*1.025.

    If we had funded according to the formula we would have had to pay $808,852 for FY2012 and 762,629 for FY2013E

    From my perspective it looks like the encourages mediocre funding of libraries as you would be foolish to budget in excess of the 2.5% as you would then be affected by that increase for the next three years.
    I personally believe in keeping the library funded and certified but ultimately decertification and recertification will lead to a good amount of cost savings.

    1. Thanks for doing the math Geoffrey. Seems like it will help us recover, still need to come up with the money.

    2. Steve, do you have the Library budget for the past 10 or 15 years? I think it would be interesting to see if we were penalized for funding the library above the 2.5% at any time and if that could have made a difference to what we should have paid...

  2. My concern is that we would hear this from our neighboring library's email, not from our own library, not from our own town newspaper or any our own sources. When Medway experienced this a couple of years back, we knew all ahead of time. I am afraid that we seriously have a dysfunct library...

    1. Yes, it is unfortunate. We all need to raise this as an issue, some folks just don't get it. Some do and there is not enough incentive to change, yet!