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updated: 11/10/2011 11:34 AM

Gail Borden board OK's levy to keep budget flat

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The Gail Borden Public Library will levy less in taxes next year than this year but keep its budget mostly flat, according library officials.

Denise Raleigh, director of communications, said the Elgin-based library will request $14.1 million to capture revenue from any new construction. But the working budget for the 2011-2012 year is holding largely constant -- about $13,421,000 compared to the almost $13,376,000 of last year.

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Board members approved the levy 5-2 on Tuesday with trustees Randy Hopp and Penny Wegman opposed. Last year's tax levy was about $15,645,000.

Raleigh said the goal of library staff is to provide excellent service at the best price, which has meant cuts where possible at the same time that library use has increased.

"We were one of the best deal libraries and we still are when it comes to per capita spending," Raleigh said.

The Gail Borden Library District serves 144,000 people concentrated mostly in Elgin and South Elgin with some patrons in Hoffman Estates, Streamwood and Bartlett.

Included in the budget for next year are loan payments for an automated materials sorting system that trustees also recently approved. The $700,000 purchase is one library officials say will save money in the long run. The system will be paid for over five years, starting next year.

"It will let us devote staff time to more meaningful, patron-related things rather than just moving books around," board President Rick McCarthy said.

The system will sort books automatically, saving staff time and helping employees get books back on the shelves faster.

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