Del­e­gates ap­prove bud­get in­crease for Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Front Page - BY MATTHEW LIEBEN­BERG — mlieben­berg@prairiepost.com

Mu­nic­i­pal del­e­gates at the Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary's fall board meet­ing ap­proved an an­nual three per cent bud­get in­crease for the next three years.

The 2019-21 bud­get was pre­sented dur­ing the meet­ing in Swift Cur­rent, Nov. 3. The del­e­gates rep­re­sented the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in the Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary's ser­vice area.

Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary Direc­tor Dr. Jean McKendry was happy with the out­come of the vote at the meet­ing.

“I think to­day was a good meet­ing,” she said af­ter­wards. “We're very pleased that we've passed a three year bud­get with three per cent in­crease in each year and now we can get on with our strate­gic plan­ning.”

The Town of Maple Creek and the City of Swift Cur­rent voted against the mo­tion to ap­prove the bud­get as pre­sented for three years, but both em­pha­sized their on­go­ing com­mit­ment and sup­port for the ser­vices pro­vided by the Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary.

Town of Maple Creek Coun­cil­lor Michael Mor­row, who is the chair of the Maple Creek Li­brary board, was un­able to be at the meet­ing. He told the Prairie Post that the town's del­e­gate at the meet­ing voted against the mo­tion be­cause of some con­cern about ap­prov­ing a bud­get for three years.

“The Town of Maple Creek is fully in favour and in full sup­port of the Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary sys­tem and the Saskatchewan li­brary sys­tem,” he said. “The bud­get it­self, we do ap­prove of it. It was the length that was a bit of a prob­lem there, but all in all we do sup­port the full bud­get it­self.”

He con­sid­ers an an­nual bud­get in­crease of three per cent over the next three years to be rea­son­able.

“With the way in­fla­tion is, ev­ery year things cost more and the three per cent, I be­lieve it's very mod­est and that will keep all the branches open,” he said. “I think it's enough for each mu­nic­i­pal­ity to be able to ac­cept right now, but at the same time we do need more pro­vin­cial help as well.”

Mor­row noted that li­braries are a vi­tal part of com­mu­ni­ties, but he is wor­ried that the bur­den on mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties will be­come too much if there is not more fund­ing sup­port for the li­brary sys­tem from the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.

“It is our stance that look­ing over the last six or seven years, the gov­ern­ment has not been putting up their share of money,” he said. “They have not been in­creas­ing their amount to our li­brary sys­tem, which is putting a strain on the rest of the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. So we re­ally stress that the gov­ern­ment has to step up with the li­brary sys­tem and to start sup­port­ing it more fi­nan­cially. As costs go up ev­ery year, we do need more help from the gov­ern­ment it­self.”

Coun­cil­lor Ron Toles, the City of Swift Cur­rent rep­re­sen­ta­tive, in­di­cated the City voted against the mo­tion due to a tech­ni­cal mat­ter.

“The thing we said no to was not nec­es­sar­ily the three-year,” he said af­ter the meet­ing. “I would sup­port a three year, although I can't com­mit our coun­cil af­ter 2020. There's an elec­tion and I can't com­mit the 2021 coun­cil to do­ing what we say, but I can't imag­ine them not, be­cause we've al­ways been a sup­porter of the li­brary. So I wasn't op­posed to a three year. The thing that was in the bud­get that we were op­posed to were the num­bers.”

The for­mula that the Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary uses to cal­cu­late the mu­nic­i­pal grant is based on the pop­u­la­tion num­bers in each mu­nic­i­pal­ity from the 2016 fed­eral pop­u­la­tion cen­sus. The pop­u­la­tion data for Swift Cur­rent was there­fore used to cal­cu­late the City's mu­nic­i­pal grant in the bud­get.

For 2018 the Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary re­quested $444,208.47 from the City, but the al­lo­ca­tion in the City bud­get was ac­tu­ally $414,753. The Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary based the three per cent for the 2019 bud­get on the orig­i­nal amount re­quested in 2018, but the City felt the cal­cu­la­tion of this bud­get in­crease should be based on the smaller amount.

“As a City, we can't do that be­cause we put it down last year,” Toles said. “We didn't sup­port it last year. So this year we're sup­port­ing an in­crease over the $414,753 that we gave last year.”

He be­lieves a bud­get in­crease of three per cent by the Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary is a rea­son­able re­quest, but the ac­tual amount al­lo­cated for 2019 in the City bud­get will only be known in De­cem­ber.

“We're not op­posed to a three per cent in­crease or an in­crease in that range, but we are op­posed to the num­bers that they used that we de­feated last year,” he said. “Our bud­get hasn't been ap­proved yet, but I think around three per cent is a rea­son­able guess.”

He noted that the City owns the build­ing where the Swift Cur­rent Branch Li­brary is lo­cated and the City is there­fore re­spon­si­ble for the cap­i­tal main­te­nance of the build­ing.

“Last year we re­did all the wash­rooms to make them ac­ces­si­ble, we re­placed a lot of floor, we painted a lot of of­fices, we re­placed some fur­ni­ture,” he said. “We spent a lot of ex­tra cap­i­tal money on that as well last year. This is sim­ply op­er­a­tional bud­get and so our bud­get amounts for li­brary, whether it's Chi­nook or Swift Cur­rent branch, is well in ex­cess of the $444,208 that they were ask­ing for, but we can't do both.”

Ac­cord­ing to Dr. McKendry the City has the right, un­der the terms of the Pub­lic Li­brary Act, to turn down the bud­get pro­posed by the Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary, be­cause the City con­trib­utes more than 25 per cent of the mu­nic­i­pal fund­ing. How­ever, the City's vote does not in­flu­ence the rest of the mu­nic­i­pal vote.

“What we're look­ing for is a ma­jor­ity vote among the ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and we got that,” she said.

The ap­proval of the 2019-21 bud­get at the meet­ing will as­sist the Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary with fu­ture plan­ning and to work on a new strate­gic plan.

“Strate­gic plan­ning helps guide us to pro­vide bet­ter li­brary ser­vice in the re­gion,” she said. “We have some ideas about what we've got to work with when we have a three-year bud­get.”

An an­nual three per cent bud­get in­crease over the next three years will make it pos­si­ble for the Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary to keep up with in­fla­tion­ary costs and to still have some money avail­able to im­prove pro­grams and ser­vices.

“My phi­los­o­phy about how li­braries should serve com­mu­ni­ties is li­brar­i­ans help peo­ple to help them­selves,” she said. “So we want peo­ple to come to the li­brary to learn about tech­nol­ogy or we want chil­dren to ex­pe­ri­ence maker's space, or we want peo­ple to learn how to use a 3D printer, be­cause these are all pos­si­ble at the li­brary, and then some­times peo­ple cre­ate new knowl­edge by the things they learn at the li­brary. It's about life­long learn­ing and it's about a place to share ideas.”

Bud­get data pro­vided at the meet­ing in­di­cated that the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment's grant to the Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary has in­creased from $12.47 per capita in 2006 to a high of $14.25 in 2014 and 2015, but there­after it dropped to $14.04 in 2016, $13.90 in 2017 and $13.88 per capita in 2018.

The per capita con­tri­bu­tion from mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties con­tin­ued to in­crease over the past 12 years. It was $10.28 in 2006 and it reached a new high of

$20.28 per capita in 2018.

Pho­tos by Matthew Lieben­berg

Mu­nic­i­pal del­e­gates vote on the bud­get mo­tion at the Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary's fall meet­ing, Nov. 3.

Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary Board Chair Patrick Simp­son speaks dur­ing the board's fall meet­ing in Swift Cur­rent, Nov. 3.

Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary Direc­tor Dr. Jean McKendry presents de­tails about the bud­get at the fall meet­ing in Swift Cur­rent, Nov. 3. Board Chair Patrick Simp­son is seated next to her.

Pho­tos by Matthew Lieben­berg

City of Swift Cur­rent Coun­cil­lor Ron Toles ad­dresses the Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary Board's fall meet­ing Nov. 3.

City of Swift Cur­rent Coun­cil­lor Ryan Plewis speaks dur­ing the Chi­nook Re­gional Li­brary Board's fall meet­ing.

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