Photo: Grand Gazette’s Mr. V teaching a class of Fraser Valley Elementary students.
Three years ago, the budget picture for Grand County Library District (GCLD) had a very different outlook than those presented at Tuesday evening’s board meeting. That evening, Director of Finance & HR Tara Thompson presented the 6-month budget review.
Over the past few years GCLD has pivoted the budgeting approach to a zero-based budget from an incremental budget. Through this approach, funds are set aside for specific operational functions as revenue allows while utilizing reserves for thoughtful capital projects and debt servicing.
“Local taxes generate 92% of the funds coming into the library district. The additional funds are provided through the generous donations from the Friends of Grand County Library, Grand County Library Foundation, and other donors or grants,” stated Tara Thompson. “The direction provided by the GCLD Board of Trustees was to create a sustainable level of service that can be funded through that tax base. We are doing this with roughly 47% of our budgeted funds being spent at the 1Ž2 way point of this year. Our focus with the strategic plan is people, place, and platform. Our two greatest expenditures are on our staff and facilities. This aligns with the strategic plan of customer service and knowledgeable, resourceful staff, as well as facilities that can be the community hub.”
This current year, GCLD is budgeted to run at a deficit in order to allow for a significant pay down of the districts building debt. Funds from the temporary .95 mill levy, as well as a contribution from the Grand County Library Foundation (dedicated to library sustainability), will allow the district to pay down $1.1 million in principal this year and $500k for the next seven years, saving the taxpayers approximately $1.2 million in interest payments.
“This is a nice conversation to have. Knowing who we are and making a financial plan for it. Such a contrast from previous years,” Trustee and Finance Committee Chair Marcus Davis stated. “It is good to see us taking steps toward stability and forward thinking.”
Following the budget presentation, an update on the strategic plan was presented. Many of the programs and library resources are financially underwritten by funds raised by the Friends of Grand County Library. While early literacy services, such as story time, are considered a base level of GCLD programing, as well as continuing to add to our ever-changing library collection and e-resources, an increase in school-age, teen, and adult programming has taken place. Using data-driven decision-making to determine what our programs are, as well as what to add to our collection, is a necessity to ensure we are meeting the needs of our community. GCLD is not just considering numbers but impact in the community.
For more details on the GCLD budget and strategic plan, go to gcld.org/about-us. If you would like to financially contribute towards the continued health and sustainability of the library, please contact the Friends of Grand County Library or Grand County Library Foundation.