Special Community Library Network Meeting TODAY for FINAL Budget Discussion Before Public Hearing
Today is the FINAL budget discussion the Community Library Network board will have before the budget public hearing so this will be your final chance to hear what the board has to say about the draft FY24 budget before the public gets to chime in.
One way to make your voice heard before the public hearing, however, is to email the board and let them know your feelings about raising your taxes to increase their budget. The board has the opportunity to ask the public for another 1, 2, or 3% in property taxes so let them know if you wouldn’t mind having your taxes raised or if they should keep a balanced budget with 0% tax increase. Email the board at email@example.com.
The biggest takeaways out of all the budget discussion meetings so far:
The library network pays $17,000 per year for the music streaming service Freegal. Freegal is highly used and will not be cut, however there are other digital resources of similar amount that are not often used and will be cut in the FY24 budget.
The previous board had the goal of increasing the amount of programs/classes sponsored through the library, so much so that they were stepping out of their lane and breaching the territory of classes that should be handled through Parks and Rec. This new board is looking at cutting some programs so that they are more focused on reading and literacy instead of programs like nature walks at Farragut State Park or music concerts at the local park.
The Collections line item will be decreased by over $100,000 to at least $315,000. This is for buying new books, DVDs, etc., however the director will be looking at other ways to bring in books; allowing gently used books to be donated is one way.
The reason the board is looking to decrease multiple budget items is to make room for $200,000 so that all the employees get a bump up in their salary matrix and can make a market rate wage without raising taxes.
Katie Blank and Vanessa Robinson have made it clear that they would absolutely vote for raising taxes if they had the chance; Rachelle Ottosen, Tim Plass and Tom Hanley are adamantly opposed to asking the public for more money.
The Community Library Network has a “Library of Things” funded by the taxpayers, to purchase items to go into this project. These random items can then be checked out by community members.
Future Meeting Dates