Last month, Ohio lawmakers voted to increase the Public Library Fund (PLF) from 1.66% to 1.7% of the state’s general revenue fund. The amount of the increase remains unclear, however, because tax cuts and other restructuring will affect the size of the state’s budget, and the share that goes to the PLF.
Since 2008, the PLF has been reduced by $108 million – a 24% loss in funding. Last year, Ohio’s public libraries received the same level of state funding they received in 1996. The PLF has made up about 40% of Ritter’s total budget.
Until recently, the Public Library Fund (PLF) was funded with 1.97% of the total tax revenue received by the State of Ohio and divided among the 251 public libraries in Ohio. However, from mid-2011 until mid-2013, the PLF was funded at 95% of the monthly distributions made in August 2010 through July 2011. Therefore, any increases in state revenue during the current biennium budget period will not benefit the library.
In 2013, the PLF provided 38.67% of all revenue received by the library. Erie and Lorain County tax levies provided 55%.
WHERE DOES THE LIBRARY’S REVENUE COME FROM?
WHAT ARE THE LIBRARY’S EXPENDITURES?
WHAT IS THE LIBRARY’S FUNDING OUTLOOK?
In November 2012, voters approved a 10-year, 0.625-mil operating levy for the library which was estimated by the Erie County auditor to realize $278,141 a year in additional funding for the library. When added to the current 1-mil, continuing-levy income, this influx of funds greatly enhances Ritter’s ability to serve the community and its citizens.
By January 2013, it was confirmed by the county that property tax values had decreased by an amount that would change Ritter’s 2013 collections from the anticipated $767,670 to $721,709, a drop of almost $46,000.
Libraries continued in 2013 to monitor the state biennium budgets for changes that might bring funding back to pre-2008 levels. 2014 and 2015 are expected to bring more revenue to the state and thus to the PLF. The state’s general fund will be relying more on sales taxes which will change the flow of funding coming to libraries. It is important that with these shifts in state funding, our community continues its support of its library.
As we see continued growth in usage during these challenging economic times, it is clear that our public library is more valuable and relevant to the children and families of Vermilion than ever before. The board of trustees and the staff here are committed to providing excellent library services to all of our residents. It is thanks to those residents that we are in a position to do so.
FINANCIAL REPORTING AND AUDITS
The 2013 un-audited Ritter Public Library annual report can be found by following this link: 2013 Ritter Public Library Annual Report
updated January 2014