Mountain View Voice

News - June 14, 2013

Council hesitant to boost library funding

by Daniel DeBolt

In city budget discussions on Tuesday, the City Council supported adding $50,000 to next year's library budget for new books, CDs, and DVDs and other materials. Even with the boost, the city's spending on such items will still be lower than in comparable cities' libraries.

Library board trustee Randall Stock told the council on Tuesday that the city has been spending less on materials than five other "benchmark" libraries and recommended an increase in funds.

"Mountain View has a very good library with similar costs" in most areas, he said. "The red flag is the city's investment in materials, books, and CDs. Mountain View spends 17 percent less per capita" than comparable libraries in the area.

Stock said the library board voted unanimously to recommend restoring a $50,000 cut made to the library's annual materials budget during the recession in 2009, even though the city "will still be spending 7 percent less than the average of the other libraries" with the funding restored.

Council members were hesitant to restore the $50,000 for more than a one-time basis, voting 6-0 to approve the funding for next year only.

"Our library is one of our jewels, I would very much like to restore the funding," said council member Ronit Bryant. "But we have received budget designed to be balanced."

"As a city manager, I always have concerns about ongoing expenses," said Dan Rich, adding that spending less than $50,000 on an ongoing basis would be more "palatable."

Rich's proposed 2013-14 general fund budget, which also funds the library, totals $97.5 million this year, with $1.9 million left over, based on revenue projections. Last year's adopted general fund budget was $95.5 million.

Email Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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