By Gail Peckler-Dziki

Its that time of year for everyone, including The Community Library, when budgets become a top priority.

While the library submits its budget to the villages of Salem Lakes, Twin Lakes, Paddock Lake and town of Randall, the library does not set a mill rate. Kenosha county and the state sets that mil rate.

The communities are not the only revenue source, for the library, which also receives annual funds from Kenosha County for non-resident circulations.

The annual fund received is determined by dividing the operating expenses by the total circulation number (materials checked out) to determine cost per circulation. That amount varies every year.

The mill rate that residents of the participating communities see is the minimum, which everyone everyone in the county will pay, if there is no library facility in their own community.

The Community Library has operated this way since day one. The staff provides materials, services and programming on a strict budget.

If the assessed value rises, so do municipal payments to the library.

When assessed value drops, so does the amount paid to the library.

This year, Randall, Twin Lakes and Salem all saw an increase of between $8,000 and $10,000 in what each pays to the community Library.

Both Paddock Lake and Silver Lake saw little movement with an increase between $200 and $300.

Despite the consolidation of Silver Lake and Salem, residents in each area will still receive a separate tax bill this year, one more time.

The assessed value in both the Silver Lake area and in the Paddock Lake has remained stagnant for some years since 2008.

The cause of the drop in revenue is the county portion that the Community Library receives for non-resident circulations.

“We receive money from the county system for every non-resident circulation,” said Community Library Director LeeAnn Briese.

The cost per circulation changes every year. The formula is based on the total expenditures of the library, divided by the total number of circulations, which are items checked out by both resident and non-resident library users.

“If our expenditures remain stable but our circulations increase, the amount that the library receives per circ goes down,” Briese said.

That is what happened this year.

“We do have money in our operating reserve fund to cover this shortfall,” Briese said. “We can continue to operate, but its difficult to grow.”

She explained this to the Community Library board, and while the board did not make a formal decision about returning to participating communities to ask for more money, some trustees did just that, including Bill Hopkins of the Village of Salem Lakes.

Residents of the Community Library pay the same minimal amount as all other residents in Kenosha County.

Yet residents of the Community Library area have the advantage of having library facilities in their own communities. So some library trustees decided it was time to ask the communities they represent for a slight increase.

Salem Lakes Trustee Ted Kmiec said he is open to increasing the amount to the library, depending on what other communities were planning to do.

The Community Library board requested that Briese let them know what each municipality might pay if they decided to take care of the $17,803 shortfall.

By percentage, Paddock Lake at eight percent could pay $1,464; Randall at 19 percent $3,325; Salem and Silver Lake together would cover 46 percent and pay $8.953 and Twin Lakes portion at 27 percent would be $4,837.

Paddock Lake Village Administrator Tim Popanda said his board has not been presented with a request for an increase.

The town of Randall has denied any additional monies for the library. Twin Lakes has yet to hear the issue.


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