In its year of transition to autonomy as a body that can determine its own budget and direct City Council to levy taxes called for in the budget, the Library Board of Trustees has approved its budget for next year, one that shows no additional cost to the taxpayers of Evanston.
Before the Board members began deliberations on the 2013 budget at their Sept. 19 meeting – in particular on whether to take over the operations of The Mighty Twig – Library Director Karen Danczak Lyons said a budget should have "a review of the proposed expenses, a review of the anticipated revenues but, most importantly, it should be an expression of priorities for the coming year."
The $5.1 million budget approved by the board on Sept. 19 shows revenues and expenses increasing by 4 percent over last year’s budget. Expenditures for youth services increased by 6.5 percent, while adult services decreased by nearly 10 percent. The largest increase is 27 percent in administrative costs. Revenues from fines and fees are anticipated to increase by 23 percent – from $150,000 to $185,000 – despite the fact that the Library has eliminated video rental fees. Income expected from rentals of the Community Room remains the same as last year, said Ms. Lyons, mainly because the room is rented out as much as possible.
Income from private sources is expected to increase: The Fund for Excellence anticipates revenues of about $100,000 – about one-third more than last year. Monies in the Fund for Excellence generally are used to purchase books, periodicals and the like, Ms. Lyons said.
In addition, Board members said they felt confident that the Library could raise an additional $145,000 to fund operations at a library branch at 900 Chicago Ave., the site of the Mighty Twig.
Both Ms. Lyons and the Board members were precise about the fact that this budget shows no increase in the property tax revenues to be levied by the Library.
"People are expecting a raise in property taxes, but I don’t think it’s the right thing to do, the strategic thing to do or the politically expedient thing to do," said Ms. Lyons.
"We have made a conscious choice to have a flat budget," said Board member Michael Tannen.
The eight members of the Board present at the Sept. 19 meeting – Diane Allen, Sergio de los Reyes, Tori Foreman, Margaret Lurie, Susan Newman, Benjamin Schapiro (president), Leora Siegel and Mr. Tannen – approved the budget unanimously.