Fayetteville library juggles expansion costs with day-to-day operations

Posted: November 21, 2017 at 1 a.m.

The Fayetteville Public Library Board of Trustees discusses the 2018 budget on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The library board wants to make sure it has enough money to cover unforeseen expenses, the expansion and costs beyond its control next year.

The board read through a draft of its 2018 budget on Monday. Next year's $5.6 million budget is about $600,000 more than the budget the board approved for 2017. However, this summer $2 million was added to the 2017 budget to reflect money transferred from the library's foundation to buy the old City Hospital land, the site of the library's expansion. So, 2017's total budget was $7 million.

Next meeting

When: 4 p.m. Dec. 18

Where: Ann Henry Board Room, Fayetteville Public Library, 401 W. Mountain St.

Stephen Davis, director of accounting and human resources, said about $545,000 in anticipated expenses for next year can be attributed to the expansion, the rising cost of health insurance and less money from the state and city.

The library will add six new positions related to preparing for the expansion, totaling about $365,000. Positions include a budget administrator, assistant managers in the adult and reference sections and youth services and an operations assistant for facilities. Currently, the library has 59 full-time equivalent positions.

Other costs for legal services and professional development related to the expansion add to about $47,000. Earlier this year the City Council decided to put less money toward buying physical materials for the library, resulting in a $58,000 drop for 2018. Library financial administrators also anticipate a $50,000 increase for health insurance and $25,000 less in state aid.

The extra costs will be covered by moving operations money from the expansion fund to the main library fund, Davis said. The expansion fund for 2018 is about $1.3 million.

The majority of the library's revenue comes from millage, about $4.5 million. Voters approved a millage hike last year with two measures, one covering increased operations and another for construction of the expansion, which will nearly double the library's size. Construction is set to begin February 2019.

Executive Director David Johnson said there are no stipulations on how the operations millage is spent. Many of the bills related to planning the expansion are starting to take effect, requiring money to be moved around, he said.

Other sources of revenue include $222,000 from the library's fundraising foundation, $200,000 in charges for services and $126,000 in state and federal grants.

The library also will have $2.1 million in long-term reserve set aside in case of emergency and $452,000 in a facility reserve to cover a major system failure.

Library administrators also want to provide more incentives to keep employees around. The circulation services department budget, for example, will increase to $634,000 from $549,000 to increase pay rates, promotion opportunities and vacation time, Davis said.

Positions also will shift around in 2018 to account for changes in operation. The teen services budget will increase by about $43,000 because an assistant position will now be filed under that department instead of youth services, for example.

The 2018 budget has a slight surplus of $644. It added two funds for construction and debt service related to the expansion.

The board will vote on the budget during its next meeting.

NW News on 11/21/2017