Homewood Public Library board members approved a $2.42 million budget in May for the 2019 fiscal year that starts July 1.
Amy Crump, the library’s executive director, said the board anticipates future revenues will remain stable or increase after several lean years due to declining tax revenue attributed to the continuing effects of the most recent recession.
"I’m hopeful that last year was our worst year and things are starting to turn around,” she said.
The budget increased by more than $40,000 thanks to an expected increase in revenue from property taxes and a decrease in payroll. While some line items, such as insurance, have increased, the board was able to make adjustments that will allow staff to increase funding on books and materials from approximately $170,000 to $196,000.
Crump said the Illinois Library Association recommends spending between 8 and 12 percent of the budget on collections. This year, the board allocated 8 percent for new materials.
In addition, the library signed on to Kanopy, a new service as of July 1 that gives patrons digital access to documentaries. Last year the library switched to Hoopla for digital service for ebooks, movies and music. Crump said that saved the library money because Hoopla allows for simultaneous use so more patrons can access materials versus restrictive individual use of materials from its old service. Hoopla also charges a per use fee, rather than a flat fee.
Friends of the Library provided nearly $15,000 in the previous budget year. A portion of that gift is paying for the summer reading program.
On the staff side, Crump said the board has eliminated the assistant department head positions saying the small staff size made the positions unnecessary. Three of the four positions were dropped through attrition and the fourth position will be eliminated as of June 30.
The board agreed to increase its staff/board development appropriation from $5,000 to $10,000. Crump said several years ago the board allocated $50,000. Then it cut that to $35,000 and last year it went to $5,000. She argued that staff needed to have access to training and conferences that can help them in their work, so the funding was increased. She hopes to continue to increase the account “though it’ll never go up to $50,000.”
The board also estimated legal fees will jump from $20,000 to $30,000 this year as negotiations continue with staff on a contract. A union was certified in 2016 and negotiations began in February 2017 but several issues still need to be resolved on that first contract.