Library funding restored
A dispute about the county’s contribution to the Catoosa County Public Library 2015 budget was defused during the commissioners meeting Oct. 21.
By adopting an amendment to the county’s budget that reassigns a line item for the county’s share of a grant to perform maintenance and upgrade the Benton Place Campus facility.
A $50,000 grant from the state requires the county match that amount dollar-for-dollar.
The library board, which is appointed by the Board of Commissioners, questioned the propriety of the county’s $50,000 match being included in its allocation for library operations rather than amount allocated for maintenance of all county-owned properties.
About half of the library’s annual budget is funded by the state. To continue receiving state support, the county must provide funding that is no less than given the previous year.
Only when county government makes across the board budget cuts — roughly equal for all departments — can its allocation for library services be reduced without
risking loss of state funding.
Charging the $50,000 grant to the library’s operational budget would not only cut that amount from the library, but would also trigger the potential loss of all state support — about $550,000.
The amended budget that shifts those library expense items to general public buildings maintenance means the county meets state “maintenance of effort” requirements and will continue to receive its state stipend.
It also means the library in Ringgold keeps its state-provided equipment and services such as computers, high-speed Internet access, the Galileo virtual library and participation in PINES, a statewide library consortium.
“This will have no impact on the general fund,” commission chairman Keith Greene said of the amended budget.
While shifting building repairs from one part of the county budget to another was approved, essentially reinstating the prior year’s funding for the library, the commissioners denied a request to supplement the library director’s salary.