After examining Warren County’s requirement under maintenance of effort, commissioners have left $116,000 to Magness Library in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2013-14.
“The state contacted us a few years back and told us we did have a maintenance of effort that we had to meet on the library,” said Warren County Executive John Pelham. “As far as the county is concerned, we are required to do that.”
Tennessee Code Annotated 10-5-101 provides the foundation for local maintenance of effort (MOE) for public libraries. MOE sets a funding requirement for county governments. It instructs them to contribute at least the same amount as the previous fiscal year.
Commissioners questioned the requirement since McMinnville officials are attempting to reduce the city’s contribution to the library by $22,000.
In fiscal year 2011-12, the city gave $48,000 to the library. In 2012, the library requested a “one-time donation” and received an additional $22,000 in fiscal year 2012-13. In the proposed budget for 2013-14, city officials are attempting to reduce the donation back down to $48,000.
Commissioner Terry Bell says he believes the county signed a resolution to financially maintain the library years ago, regardless of the state’s requirement and what the city is attempting to do.
“I think there is a resolution that was signed by the county that agreed to fund what was given last year,” Bell said. “We started out at $70,000. As we’ve raised it, we have to continue to give that amount. Now, we’re at $116,000.”
Commission Ken Martin added, “I think that’s right. I think I’ve seen it, too. The first year I was on the commission, we cut it back and found out real quick that we couldn’t do it.”
In a written request from Magness Library, director Brad Walker and library board chairperson Pat Bigbee asked the county to consider giving more than last year’s contribution of $116,000 because the library is projected to end the fiscal year in June 2014 with a loss of $49,123.
“Our operational costs have all increased, while the amount provided by Warren County has stayed the same for nine years,” the request said. “We are being forced to use our investment principle to fund the library. This is the reason we are requesting the county increase our funding.”
According to numbers submitted by the library, it projects an income of $243,000 for fiscal year 2013-14 and expenses totaling $292,123.
Income: Warren County $116,000, city of McMinnville $70,000, investment income $27,000, memorials and contributions $15,500, and miscellaneous income $14,500.
Expenses: Materials, insurance, salaries for nine employees, payroll taxes, computer expense, postage, supplies, insurance, depreciation expense, telephone, utilities, repairs and maintenance, security system, etc.
Commissioner Herschel Wells made a motion to approve the donation at $116,000, without an increase. The motion passed 5-0 by members of the Budget and Finance Committee, Wells, Bell, Martin and Commissioners Carl Bouldin and Michael Martin.
The county’s budget, including donations, must still be reviewed by the Financial Management Committee and approved by the full Warren County Commission.