Library hit hard by cuts

Lime Springs City Council members had to cut deep into the budget requests of five entities under City control—pool, parks, library, community center and fire department—to meet the City’s budget for 2011-12.
After all was said and done the Library’s budget was cut over $16,000. The others will have to make up the difference of between $2,500-6,000 each.
Income from property tax is $161,136 and money from other (one percent sales tax, road use, etc.) is $335,072 for a total budget of $496,208 to work with from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010. After the City’s expenses and reserve fund was figured, that left just $23,000 to divide between the above-mentioned entities.
The City has to pay its operating expenses and start saving money for its reserve fund.
The rule of thumb is to have at least six months worth of expenses in reserve for emergencies. Lime Springs is working to build up its reserve and has budgeted about $62,000 for this. In the past year, the City has sometimes had to use its line of credit at the bank. Anticipated expenses for the year are $434,173. For its six-month reserve, the City should have about $217,086.
According to the Iowa Department of Management Website, other towns in the county are in much better financial health with Chester having $127,268; Cresco-$3,483,804; Elma-$399,419; and Protivin-$176,714.
As the graph shows, those entities asked for $54,469, which put the budget over by $26,611—making it necessary to cut nearly $28,000 from those groups. Council person Kevin Bill commented, “In reality we need to cut $30,000 [to start working on our reserve].”
For clarification, council person Carla Moser told the other council members, “There are no grants figured into the budget. Like for the pool—we’re applying for a grant for the lights. If we don’t get the grant, we don’t spend the money so it isn’t in the budget.”
Mayor Barb Robinson mentioned a few fire department grants she was applying for. “Grants for the Library and Fire Department are no brainers.” They are looked at favorably by different foundations. Those grants will hopefully cover some of the anticipated expenses for the department such as training, physicals, equipment and inoculations.
After looking over the figures, Corey Gates mentioned the amount needed to be cut is about half the amount requested. “Why not cut them all in half?”
Bill said, “We have about $24,000 which can be spent. Let’s see which entity gets what.” He proposed a total of $23,000 to be given to those extra departments:
Pool—$4,000
Parks—$2,500
Library—$6,000
Comm. Center—$4,500
Fire Department—$6,000
The Council was quiet as they pondered the proposal.
Although not happy with the figures because she is chairperson for the Pool and Parks Board, Moser said, “For this year, this is where we’re at. It could change for next year.”
The groups will have to work harder at fund-raising and asking for donations. Robinson observed, “It’s not beneath us to beg. We’ve done it before.”
The figures were looked at again and the final amount each entity will receive include:
Pool—$4,000
Parks—$2,500
Library—$6,500
Comm. Center—$4,000
Fire Department—$6,000
The Library took the biggest hit. The board was looking to get $22,504 and will only get $6,500—a difference of over $16,000. They will have to do some fund-raisers and look for grants to make up the difference.
The Fire Department was asking for $11,750 and will receive just half that, or $6,000. Again, grants will need to be gone after.
The pool already has $2,800 in donations and $3,000 from fund-raising in the budget. The $4,300 deficit is above and beyond that figure. The Community Center Board will have to make up $2,500 and the Parks will make up nearly $3,000.
All these groups will have to tighten their belts for the coming year to keep going, but there are some very creative and dedicated people on the various boards who will make it happen.
The public is invited to a budget hearing which will be held on Wednesday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m. The next Council meeting is Tuesday, March 1 at 7:00 p.m.

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