You have probably noticed that the local media is reporting frequently on the budgeting process of the various taxing entities in Shawnee County. The reason is that it is budget season and state law requires the process be completed in August. The majority of the funds for the operation of your library come from property taxes you pay for our excellent facility and programs. As a TSCPL Board Trustee and current Treasurer, I want to share with you the process your board used to establish the budget. Early in 2008, the library Executive Director, Gina Millsap, was given general direction by the board regarding budget goals for 2009. The board stated that if possible they wanted a budget that did not require a mil levy increase for the 2009 budget. With the general economy not performing well, the trustees wanted to balance the needed funds to maintain and improve our excellent programs, collection, facility and services, without increasing the financial responsibilities of Shawnee County property owners. This balance is one of the most difficult issues a trustee faces.
The Executive Director and her staff prepared a preliminary budget for the board to evaluate. Taking our budgeting responsibility quite seriously, we held two special meetings of the full board that focused only on the budget. The board provided suggested changes to the staff at the first budget session, and changes were made, and the modified budget was presented at the second budget meeting. At the end of the second session, the board voted unanimously to accept the 2009 budget, which happily achieved the board’s goal of no mil levy increase.
At the July 17 board of trustees meeting we voted to publish the budget as required by law. On August 14, at 5:00 pm, the next step of the process is a public hearing on the 2009 budget, followed by the adoption of the final budget at the board meeting following the public hearing.
All of these meetings are subject to the Kansas Open Meeting laws and therefore open to the public. This is your library and your tax dollars, so we welcome any comments you might want to make at the upcoming public hearing.