The proposed $46 million 2013 budget for the East Baton Rouge Parish library system includes money for 12 additional employees, a new tracking system for books and a new building, according to a proposal presented to the Library Board of Control on Tuesday.
The $46 million in expenditures is about $12 million more than what is budgeted in 2012, but contains several “one-time” expenditures to upgrade facilities and technology, library officials said.
The budget includes $1.8 million for a new Radio Frequency Identification electronic tagging system for books and other materials, said Mary Stein, the library system’s co-director.
The new system would replace the current barcodes affixed to each book, Stein said.
“It would be a fingerprint for each book,” Stein said. Such a system would make it easier for patrons to check out books and for the library to track its inventory, she said.
The budget also contains $2.5 million for the possible purchase of a new building to house certain departments, such as Outreach Services, Recycled Reads and some storage.
Another $2 million would be allocated to participate in a proposed shared parking garage downtown, which was added to the budget at the request of board member Stanford O. Bardwell, said Rhonda Pinsonat, the library system’s business manager.
Some board members were skeptical of the parking garage project. Bardwell did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.
Board member Tanya Freeman said committing that kind of money to a project that may never get off the ground is a “major red flag.”
Board member Travis Woodard agreed.
“If we tell the folks downtown that we’ve got $2 million allocated and set aside, they will find away to come up with a garage that spends at least $2 million,” he said.
Tuesday’s meeting was informational; the board will vote on the budget at its July 19 meeting.
The budget also calls for adding 18 new positions and deleting six current ones, Pinsonat said.
Vacant positions are being deleted, Stein said, and no current employees would be fired or laid off.
The largest personnel additions are connected with the planned purchase of a second bookmobile, which will require the addition of six new staff members, Pinsonat said.
The bookmobile will cost approximately $250,000, Pinsonat said.
The budget also contains four new positions in the library system’s Computer and Access Services department, including three new computer specialists.
The 2013 budget projects a reduction in revenue of about $1.7 million to $36.5 million, mainly due to the system not rolling forward its 11.1-mill property tax.
The system will use money from its fund balance to make up the difference between revenue and expenditures.
The millage in 2012 will be 10.78, according to the budget.
After a reassessment, millages are automatically rolled back so the taxing agencies receive the same amount of money as the year before, despite increases in property values.
But with a two-thirds vote of the governing board, the taxing agencies can roll forward the millage to the previous rate and receive the additional tax revenue, according to the state constitution.
If the budget is approved by the Library Board of Control, it will go before the Metro Council later this year.