Since VetTheGov is focused on efficient government and accountability, it's interesting to find almost the exact statement on Mesa County Library's website the same comment. It reads under the Values Statement, "effective and efficient stewardship of library resources." Let's take a closer look at their 2011 budget and see if they use your tax dollars efficiently.
The library is claiming a record number of visitors last year but only show a total number of visits at all of their locations of 720,885. If you divide this number out over 365 days and 8 branches you get about 250 visits daily per branch or 22 visitors per hour. Not sure how many field trips from the school district make up these visits but only half of Mesa County's population or 69,434 own a library card. There is no distinction between new visitors or repeat visitors and no mention of how often the 69,434 card holders are using the library.
Out of $7.5 Million in revenue (your tax money if you own a home) which include fines of $65,000.00, $3.8 Million is for Salary & Benefits which is 51% of the overall budget. Located total FTE's from 2010 of 57 and located information for State libraries here. Salary breakdowns are as follows, Director $102,003.00 and Assitant Director $70,262.00, Branch Heads average between $68,203.00 high end to $53,435.00 low end, Supervisor's average $53,976.00, non-supervising librarian's average $44,649.00 to $43,596.00, and hourly wages average from $17.61 to $9.42. VetTheGov is curious on how you can fine for a free tax funded use of a public library and what constitutes a fine? Is this just late returns or lost books? How much is actually collected?
How do you manage to have a $30,000.00 telephone bill if all your business is local? With the minimal traffic at the library, wouldn't only one phone be needed at each branch? In today's cable systems there is an included long distant calling plan for unlimited USA long distant calling that is very minimal.
$430,000.00 for computer stuff & look closely at Marmot services. Marmot charges $242,000.00 annually for access to e-books online. With all this internet access they still have a courier bill of $35,000.00. The library spends $62,000.00 for advertising more than likely on GVT shelters (not sure what they advertise for, maybe for more visitors). Another $922,000.00 for electronic media and materials and only $188,000.00 out of $922,000.00 going towards kids stuff.
Mesa County Libraries pays $90,000.00 in rent somewhere and $100,000.00 in energy cost. See recent Sentinel article on how the Library is going green! Can you smell the green from your tax dollars headed right towards Xcel energy? VetTheGov has a great suggestion for going green and that would be just have the library go completely online and offer free computers and internet access to those that need it. This would save huge energy cost from having trophy buildings and taxpayers driving to and from these buildings. Needless to say would save huge amounts of tax dollars required to operate.
Over $65,000.00 for insurance and VetTheGov wonders who in town writes these policies? Is there a less expensive option or do we the taxpayers get charged additional dollars since we pay for it? Is there a bidding procedure in place for insurance? Questions we need to start asking our government who takes our taxes and spends them how they please not how we please!
Travel budget is $30,000.00 for librarians and administration. Where do they get to go during these rough economic conditions? This fund also pays the County's Treasurer salary of $145,000.00 annually.
Lastly, the capital projects fund has $1.3 Million slated for new trophy buildings & landscaping. These are feel good buildings and projects such as the recent Fruita library that spent your tax money like drunken sailors on furniture and furnishings! It's time to stop the out of control spending and take away the open checkbooks from our elected and hired government service personnel. Please email your local elected officials and tell them enough is enough! You could always attend the board meetings listed on the website and share your frustrations.
VetTheGov hopes you have a better understanding of your local tax dollars and how they are spent. Please feel free to leave comments on how WE the PEOPLE can stop the out of control spending! Do you think the Library is using your tax dollars efficiently? Do you actually use the Library? Let us know in the comment section.