Friday, December 26, 2008

Comments re Library System 2006-07 budget

The following observations were made from the Library System of Lancaster County "Operating Expenses, Years Ended December 31, 2007 and 2006."

(NewsLanc has requested a copy of the proposed 2009 budget, will pose questions to System Executive Director Susan Hauer, and report further at a later date.)

Salary increases: Page 5 of the County funding request lists several assumptions made, among them that "salaries reflect a 2.3% inrease from 2008, based on coast of living indexes reposted by the U.S. government". Also, one new position will be added in the IT department for a developer.

Business information budget: Appears the cost of a database was shifted to the District (the 15 independent libraries) --which frees up funds for the System.

Expenses: Per Supplemental Information in the next to last page of the audit report, you can see some expense detail for 2006-07, some of which might raise eyebrows: I would want to see the 2008 Budget figures and ask what these expenditures were for rather than outright blasting them.

a) Conferences and continuing education $21,124 ($10,410 in 2006)
b) Board expenses $3,470 ($6,223 in 2006)
c) Parking & milage $4,146 ($11,570 in 2006)
d) Dues & memberships $4,550 ($4,292 in 2006)
e) Furniture & equipment $73,692 ($82,188 in 2006)
f ) Maintenance - Equipment $16,176 ($18,301 in 2006)
g) Contracted services - other $32,216 ($18,028 in 2006)
h) Library Programs $64,970 (175,161 in 2006) ---this directly benefits member libraries

In addition, the System is located in an expensive first class off building located at 1866 Colonial Village Lane, Suite 107, Lancaster, PA 17601, which is a questionable use of funds considering its non-public functions.

Executive Director Susan Hauer reportedly is compensated more than the mayor of Lancaster and county commissioners.

Concerns about System spending does not negate the equal or even more important problems of under funding of libraries by muncipality, county and state and the problems of inefficency and governance due to the fragmentation of System and District into 16 pieces rather than creating a unified libary county authority as is common elsewhere.