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DeKalb library cuts spending ahead of expansion

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 3:12 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, March 14, 2014 12:36 a.m. CST

DeKALB – The $24 million expansion project at the DeKalb Public Library will influence the library’s budget this year as officials cut funding for repairs and strip down fund balances.

The Library Board of Trustees is expected to act Wednesday on a proposed budget that includes a $30,000 cut in proposed spending compared with last year’s budget. Library Director Dee Coover said the cut is the result of a decision not to replace the current computer server as well as a shift away from repairing the roof and boiler system.

“With the expansion this year, we found those were things we could cut,” Coover said.

The proposed budget expects a little more than $2 million in revenue, which is based on the same property tax levy as the past fiscal year. Expenditures will be $36,000 less than projected revenues.

Although the library will cut back on repairs and replacements, it will spend a little more on salaries, with employees expected to receive a 1.7 percent cost-of-living raise.

“The money we are saving will go toward salaries so we can raise the salaries of workers so no one is working for too little money,” board Chairman Clark Neher said.

In order to meet requirements for the $12.2 million local match of an $11.6 million Public Library Construction Act grant the library received, the library’s fund balances were stripped, Coover said.

The City of DeKalb, which operates the library, borrowed $6.5 million for the project, along with providing $2 million in tax increment financing funds.

The library is borrowing $2.8 million, which board members expect to repay in two years through local fundraising efforts.

The library contributed $900,000 from its reserves, leaving fund balances at $350,000.

If the Library Board members approve the budget during a special meeting Wednesday, it will be incorporated in the City of DeKalb’s budget, which is adopted in June before the city’s fiscal year starts July 1.

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