New Vernon Area Public Library budget includes $1 million for construction planning
The Vernon Area Public Library District's new annual budget includes money for a possible construction project and gadgets patrons can use, among other purchases.
The Lincolnshire-based library board unanimously approved the roughly $9.6 million budget Monday night. The plan covers spending and revenue for the 2020 fiscal year, which began July 1.
Projected spending is up nearly 7% from the previous fiscal year's $9 million budget.
Library spokeswoman Catherine Savage said the proposed construction project is responsible for the spending increase. The budget sets aside $1 million for some preconstruction costs, such as architectural designs, engineering studies and permits, she said.
Officials have been considering four construction options: reconfiguring the library's interior spaces; remodeling an annex behind the main building; demolishing the annex and expanding the main building; or constructing a usable structure that would connect the main building and annex.
The annex is used for offices and public programs.
The project could cost $12 million or more, Savage said.
A project timeline hasn't been set.
The budget also includes money for some neat gadgets for patrons, including $2,000 for five virtual reality headsets and $1,800 for robots that teach children computer coding concepts and will be used in librarian-led programs.
There's also $1,500 for bags containing entire series of TV shows or movies for binge-watching. Dubbed "binge bags," they'll feature franchises such as "Game of Thrones," the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and the "Star Wars" flicks, Savage said.
"We've purchased the packaging and some DVD copies to get this project launched," Savage said. "The collection will continue to grow over time."
Additionally, the budget sets aside $24,000 for the first stage of a computerized, automated system for controlling the library's lighting, cooling and heating systems.
"(It) will reduce our carbon emissions and energy costs," Savage said.
Implementation of that system will not be affected by any future construction projects, Savage said.
To fund those purchases, officials expect to collect about $8.5 million in property taxes and other revenue during the year. That's up about 6% from the 2019 fiscal year's roughly $8 million total.
Savage attributed the bump to an increase in property tax revenue and an adjustment in anticipated bank interest.
The roughly $1.1 million difference between revenue and spending will be bridged by money from a savings fund set aside for construction projects, Savage said.