|Library works to cover losses|
|Written by Editor|
|Monday, 13 July 2009 13:18|
By JOYELL NEVINS
TIPP CITY - While the state is dragging their feet when it comes to determining the budget, the Tipp City Public Library isn’t holding their breath. They have already implemented action to combat possible revenue losses from the state.
The problem began last year, when the formula for funding of public libraries was changed to 2.22 percent of the general revenue fund. That fund is comprised of sales tax and income tax revenues. However, what was projected to be a 1 percent increase in funds turned into a 15-20 percent decrease when people started to buy less and were required to pay less.
“It’s nobody’s fault,” said Library Director Mark Mabelitini. “It’s how the economy is progressing.”
To make up the difference, the entire staff has taken a 20 percent reduction in hours, and any training conferences or seminars are no longer funded by their employer. Hours have been changed to open later in the day, close earlier at night, and be completely closed on Thursday. Programs have been rescheduled as available to fit in these slots.
“The staff’s been really good about it,” added Mabelitini. “We’ve pulled together very well.”
The library is not in the clear yet though. They are waiting to hear the final state budget. On June 19, Governor Ted Strickland proposed a balanced budget that included a 30 percent cut in the public library fund. The budget also included revenue from video gambling slot machines, a factor that members of the senate did not approve.
Since then, there has been a stalemate in between the two parties for a budget compromise that has included more mud slinging than solutions. The senate has not offered a budget of their own, and a conference committee between the House and Senate had only met once as of this past week.
On July 7 a meeting was scheduled between the Speaker of the House and the Senate President to see about some headway. A second temporary budget is in place until July 14, at which point Governor Ted Strickland has threatened “serious concerns” about signing a third one.
“We’re just waiting, going week to week,” said Mabelitini.
He explained that the library has already done all it can to cut expenses. Now they are looking at increasing revenue. Depending on the final cuts, Mabelitini and the library board are exploring millage levy options for November. There has not been a levy on the ballot since the library’s building addition in the early 1990s. Mabelitini emphasizes the levy will only be for enough to make up for any funding gap left by the state.
He also is soliciting the help of the Tipp community. Donations are welcome, and there is a form on the website for those who wish to help buy materials. But even smaller than that, he encourages card holders to pay their overdue fines.
“If you have a couple dollars in fines, that would help,” he said. “It won’t solve the problem, but if everyone did that it would certainly help.”
For more information visit www.tippcitylibrary.org or call 667-3826. The library’s new hours are Monday and Wednesday 12-8:30 p.m., Tuesday 12-5:30 p.m., Friday 12-6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and closed Sunday and Thursday.