Cook Memorial library board adopts $9.8 million budget

  • The Cook Memorial Public Library board on Monday approved a $9.8 million budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. It's about 1% larger than the current year's spending plan.

    The Cook Memorial Public Library board on Monday approved a $9.8 million budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. It's about 1% larger than the current year's spending plan. Daily Herald File Photo, 2018

 
 
Updated 6/17/2020 3:29 PM

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is causing significant economic havoc for some suburban government agencies, the Cook Memorial Public Library District's budget for the next fiscal year is on par with the current year's spending plan.

Officials with the Libertyville-based district expect to spend more than $9.8 million on staff salaries, materials, technology and other expenditures in the new fiscal year, which starts July 1. That's only about 1% greater than the nearly $9.7 million spending estimate in the 2020 budget.

 

To cover those projected costs, officials predict the district will collect nearly $9.7 million in revenue from taxes, fees and other sources. That's less than 1% greater than the nearly $9.6 million estimate in the 2020 budget.

The difference between projected revenue and spending will be bridged by reserves, said Russ Cerqua, the district's business manager.

The library board approved the budget Tuesday night.

Whereas some village boards and the Lake County Board are dramatically cutting spending and revenue projections because of the COVID-19 crisis's effect on sales taxes, income taxes and other revenue, Cerqua said the library district's finances shouldn't be badly affected by the pandemic because roughly 96% of its revenue comes from property taxes.

Additionally, the property tax estimates in the new budget are being collected this year, Cerqua said, and those bills already have gone to property owners.

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"While the current economic may have some impact on collections, we don't believe it will be significant," Cerqua said.

Cook Memorial has two libraries: the Cook Park Library in Libertyville and the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills. The district's annual circulation is the largest in Lake County and one of the largest in the state.

Cerqua attributed the projected spending increase to rising employee health insurance costs, some technology purchases and other factors.

Planned big-ticket items include upgrades to the wireless networks at both facilities, which are expected to cost $18,000, and the purchase of a new computer server for the Cook Park Library, which Cerqua said could cost $20,000.

Revenues are projected to grow slightly because inflation and rising property values are increasing the district's property-tax collections this year, Cerqua said.

Officials are expecting income from fines to be less than usual, but that sum is relatively insignificant.

The budget doesn't include any major capital expenditures. Any such plans will be discussed in August or September and funded with money from the district's reserves, Cerqua said.

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