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Board to Review Budget Issues Facing Library, Fire Protection

April 09, 2012

The Placer County Board of Supervisors will take a look Tuesday at budget challenges facing the County Library and local fire protection services because of declining property tax revenue the last few years.

The County Library operates 11 branch libraries and a Bookmobile. Funding comes from several sources, including property taxes, fines and fees, and the county General Fund.

“In recent years, the library property tax revenue has declined by a total of $421,000, or 10.5 percent,” county staff says in a report to the board. The library’s revenue from that source is projected to be flat during the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Other challenges facing the library include the elimination of $84,000 in state funding and ongoing increases in the demand for library services.

“With these continuing revenue impacts, it is increasingly difficult to maintain current levels of service,” staff says in its report.

The library system is projected to face budget deficits for the foreseeable future without further changes in its operational model or increases in revenue. At Tuesday’s meeting, the board will receive information regarding possible strategies for reducing the library’s costs.

The library has dealt with its revenue reductions over the last few years by taking such steps as reducing hours at larger branches, leaving some funded staff positions vacant, cutting its budget for materials and installing check-out stations at the Auburn and Rocklin branches that allow patrons to check out their own books.

Placer County has been able to use one-time capital facility funds the last few years to open a new branch library in Rocklin and to remodel the branches in Colfax, Foresthill and Loomis.

In its report, staff says the library can use reserves to balance its budget for one more year. Staff recommends conducting a study to review the library’s long-term revenue and service needs.

The board has received several updates over the last year on budget challenges facing local fire protection agencies. Unincorporated areas of Placer County are served by 12 independent fire protection districts and Placer County Fire, which is staffed primarily by CAL FIRE through a contract with the county.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board also will be asked to:

  • Award $92,330 in federal Community Services Block Grant funds to several of the Health and Human Services Department’s partner agencies: $33,000 to PEACE for Families, $33,000 to Roseville Home Start and $26,330 to the Tahoe SAFE Alliance.
  • Provide an additional $7,800 in support to The Gathering Inn, a faith-based organization that operates shelters for the homeless in Placer County. Total annual county support for this organization would increase to $51,468.
  • Amend a contract with INDIGO Hammond & Playle Architects LLP to cover a needs assessment, site analysis and the architectural design for a new animal shelter the county plans to construct in Auburn.

Tuesday’s meeting will take place at 9 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the County Administrative Center, 175 Fulweiler Ave., in Auburn.