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Mecklenburg County Manager Recommends $17.7 million funding for Library on FY2011
Release Date: May 19, 2010
On Tuesday, May 18, Mecklenburg County Manager Harry Jones presented his budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2011, which included $17.7 million in funding for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library; an amount close to the $17 million target the County gave the Library in March. The County Manager also announced that the Library would be consolidating two departments, Maintenance and Security, with the County. This will generate about $2.3 million in savings for the Library, by transferring a $2.3 million expense line item from the Library to the County.
With the $17.7 million recommendation, the Library’s plan remains twofold: to continue planning for a County funding level of $17.7 million, which would leave the system with eight large locations; but also to continue working towards its Sustainability Plan, which assumes the $2.3 million savings, but would still require $8 million in additional funding ($5 million from the County and $3 million from the municipalities of Mecklenburg County), and would allow the Library to continue operating 20 locations with the currently reduced levels of services and hours.
Last week, the Library showed progress toward the Sustainability Plan, in the form of support from the towns in Mecklenburg County and from City of Charlotte leaders, including Mayor Anthony Foxx and City Councilman Edwin Peacock. The Library has also been meeting with County Staff and Commissioners to discuss the Sustainability Plan; and has been presenting the plan, along with other scenarios, to the public at its community meetings.
“The Library exists to serve the people of Mecklenburg County, and the people have said that libraries are important to them. We believe that the Library, the County, the City, and the Towns, can all work together to continue to serve the community,” said Library Board Chair Robin Branstrom. “We would like to thank those who have shown support for our Sustainability Plan thus far, and continue to work with all parties to ensure its success.”
Two other important steps that have been made towards the Sustainability Plan are the $2.3 million consolidation with County, and the possible elimination of $2 million in Library operational expenses by permanently closing three locations (Carmel, Belmont Center, and Checkit Outlet), and temporarily closing the Beatties Ford Road location currently under renovation. The Library board will discuss these potential closings at its meeting tomorrow.
The $17.7 million in funding from Mecklenburg County will result in the layoff off approximately 200 Library employees, in addition to the 120 laid off in April; which will necessitate the closing of 16 of 24 locations. Because employee-related costs account for 75% of the Library’s operating budget, and because cuts have already been made to many other line items, the Library must lay off staff to achieve a neutral operating budget. Another item that will be discussed at the board meeting tomorrow is a Business Case for FY2011 funding, which lays out additional financial challenges the Library faces in laying off staff and closing locations.