Library Fund Feedback

I would like to provide some background information in relation to the article about the Fairfield County Library’s budget request.

While it is true that there is millage assessed specifically for library services, in fact the library cannot access any of those funds without a vote of County Council. This policy was put in place in the 1980s when the value of the mill began increasing as V. C. Summer went online. The Council at that time felt more oversight was needed over how millage funds were spent. Consequently, the county began requiring the library to submit a line-item budget which is subject to the same budget process and readings as county departments.

It is also true that the library is not a department of the county. However, it is considered by the county auditors to be a “component unit” of the county. There are two reasons for this. First, the library’s legal status and governance is set forth in County Ordinance 29 passed March 13, 1979, which establishes the Library Commission. Second, the majority of the library’s funding comes from county taxes. All library salaries and operating expenses are paid with local funds unlike some other county agencies whose major funding and salaries are paid with funds from state or other non-local revenues. The $75,000 in State Aid received by the library is spent entirely on books and other materials.

The library is audited by the county’s auditors each year and routinely receives a clean report. Each Council member receives a quarterly report of the library’s income and expenses and copies of the minutes of all Library Commission meetings. There is a Council member appointed as liaison who attends Library Commission meetings.

The implication that the Council has no control over library funding is a misrepresentation of the reality. In fact, the Council has total control of what local funds are available for library operations.

Sarah McMaster

Former Director

Fairfield County Library