Cook Memorial library board adopts $15.8 million budget

  • Workers haul materials inside the Aspen Drive Library addition. Funding for the $6.8 million project, which should wrap up this fall, is included in the budget for the 2020 fiscal year.

      Workers haul materials inside the Aspen Drive Library addition. Funding for the $6.8 million project, which should wrap up this fall, is included in the budget for the 2020 fiscal year. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • An expansion of the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills, on the right, should wrap up this fall.

      An expansion of the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills, on the right, should wrap up this fall. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • An expansion of the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills, visible here from inside the library, should wrap up this fall.

      An expansion of the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills, visible here from inside the library, should wrap up this fall. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/21/2019 1:11 PM

The Cook Memorial Public Library District's new annual budget includes $4.6 million to complete the Aspen Drive Library expansion in Vernon Hills.

The nearly $15.8 million budget also includes funding for various repairs and upgrades at the Cook Park Library in Libertyville.

 

The library board on Tuesday unanimously approved the annual budget and appropriations ordinance. The budget covers spending and revenue for the 2020 fiscal year, which began July 1.

Not surprisingly, the Aspen Drive Library expansion is the biggest capital project in the plan. With a total price tag of about $6.8 million, the 15,000-square-foot addition will nearly double the building's size.

New study rooms, a large conference room, a dedicated area for teens and an enclosed quiet room are among the planned amenities. Board member Karen Singer called the glass-walled space bright and airy.

Construction began in February and should wrap up this fall.

"I'm excited to have it come to fruition," Singer said.

Officials are paying for the project with $2.4 million from savings and about $4.4 million in loans.

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Because of the expansion, projected spending is up more than 23.8% from the 2019 fiscal year.

In addition to spending money at Aspen, library officials also are planning roof, window and parking lot repairs at the Cook Park Library.

Additionally, $85,000 is set aside for upcoming computer replacements and $25,000 is being reserved for the eventual replacement of the district's bookmobile. The library board bought the current bookmobile for $175,000 in 2003, and it's nearing the end of its anticipated life span.

In all, $1 million is earmarked for repairs or replacements of district facilities and assets, Cook Memorial business manager Russ Cerqua said.

Revenues from property taxes, fees and other sources are expected to total nearly $9.6 million, a 2.9% increase from the 2019 fiscal year's $9.4 million estimate.

Cerqua attributed the revenue boost to an anticipated increase in property tax collections.

Savings -- including about $3.4 million from the loans for the Aspen expansion -- will make up the difference between spending and revenue, Cerqua said.

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