The Board of Trustees of Delta County Public Library District adopted the amended 2023 budget at the January 18, 2023 board meeting.

2023 Amended Budget

Answers to Your Questions

General

Are you closing libraries?

The District Board has adopted the 2023 Budget, which supports keeping five libraries open for 2023. At the December 14 District Board meeting, trustees agreed unanimously that current conditions are unfavorable for passing a mill levy increase. The District Board will not pursue a mill levy tax increase in 2023. Please click here for a link to the 2023 budget.

What is the structure of the District?

Delta County Libraries (The District) is a special taxing district with its own governing body. It is not a division of Delta County government nor any other local municipality. The District Board of Trustees is a citizen-governing board consisting of 7 voting members. Members are appointed by the Delta County Commissioners following recommendations from the District Board. There is one member for each community with a library (5 total) and 2 members that are at-large. The District Board operates under the authority of, and according to the duties and responsibilities defined in the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) 24-90-1 (the Colorado Library Law), CRS 24-6-4 (Open Meetings Law) and other applicable statutes. The District Board holds regular monthly meetings and posts public notice of meetings at least 24 hours in advance at each library and on the District’s website at www.deltalibraries.org. The purpose of the monthly meetings is for the District Board to conduct their business. The public is welcome to attend monthly meetings and the agenda includes time for public comment.

Financial

How does the District get its funding?

Delta County Libraries is a special taxing district. The property tax levy income it receives is used only for Delta County Libraries. Property tax revenue funds approximately 70% of the District’s revenue stream. Sales tax revenue funds approximately 10% of the District’s revenue stream. The sales tax is distributed annually to the District by Delta County as a result of a 1% Delta County sales tax measure that passed in 1969. Of those funds, the County appropriates up to $50,000 per year for capital maintenance and approximately $87,967 per year for operating expenses. The balance of funding comes from miscellaneous sources including fines, fees, donations and grants. The District is not a division of the County government nor any other local municipality.

Why is the District experiencing financial hardship?

Since 2011, the District has significantly reduced library service hours, staff, programming, collections and services in order to balance the budget with increasing expenses and declining or flat revenue. In 2013 and 2019 the voters of Delta County said “no” to increasing revenue for the District. In 2021, the District passed a ballot measure to stabilize the property tax revenue it receives annually. While the 2021 ballot measure ensures that the District will not continue to lose property tax revenue, expenses continue to increase annually.

What cuts have been made to balance the budget?

Since 2011, library service hours, staff, programming, and collections have been cut significantly to balance the budget.

What is the budget process and how can the public participate?

Every August, the County assessor certifies the total new assessed and actual values (for real and personal property) used to compute the statutory and TABOR property tax revenue limits. During the month of September, the District Budget Committee reviews the proposed budget presented by the District Director which is based on the revenue estimated by the assessor. The proposed budget must be submitted to the District Board by mid-October. The District Board publishes the “Notice of Budget” and the time period for public comment and objections begins. The District Board conducts a public hearing on the proposed budget during a regular meeting. Finally, the District Board adopts the budget in December. The public may inspect the proposed budget and file or register any objections thereto, in writing, at any time prior to the final adoption of the budget at the December District Board meeting.

Does the District own buildings?

The District owns Crawford Library and Paonia Library. Delta Library is owned by the City of Delta, Cedaredge Library is owned by the Cedaredge Library Foundation, and Hotchkiss Library is owned by Hotchkiss Memorial Hall. The District does not pay rent for the Delta Library building but has been financially responsible for on-going maintenance to the building. The District pays $12 per year for the Cedaredge Library and is responsible for some maintenance. The District pays $2,400 per year for the Hotchkiss Library, maintains the building, and manages reservations for Memorial Hall. The District has free access to meeting rooms at Memorial Hall for library programs and meetings.

When did the District Board start talking about the possibility of closing libraries?

For over a decade, the District Board has considered closing libraries during its annual budgeting process.  However, in order to keep five libraries open, the District Board has cut expenses, which means cutting library services (refer back to “What cuts have been made to balance the budget?”).  The District Board’s task of adopting an annual budget despite declining or flat revenue and increasing expenses has been very difficult.  The District Board has placed two levy funding requests on the ballot and both failed due to a lack of voter support. As a result, since 2011, cuts to library service hours, staffing, programming, collections, and services have been made to support a balanced budget and avoid closing libraries. In 2021, the District Board placed a measure on the ballot to stabilize funding. While the ballot measure was successful, it did not increase revenue for the District and expenses continue to rise.

How much more revenue does the District need to comfortably keep five libraries open?

The District Board is projecting that it will need to double its property tax revenue.

Are grants and donations possible funding alternatives to a mill levy increase?

Public libraries in Colorado are supported primarily by local tax revenues. Per its establishing documents and by-laws, the District is a “publicly-supported library,” which is defined in Colorado Library Law as “a library supported principally with money derived from taxation.” The District is very limited in the types of grants it is eligible for and often grants create additional expenses. For example, the District may receive a grant to purchase equipment, but the cost of researching, installing, monitoring and maintaining the equipment is not covered by the grant. The District Foundation and various other nonprofits (for example, Library Friend groups) support the District with funds received by donations, memberships, book sales, etc. These organizations play a vital role in supporting the District but are limited as to what they can provide. Typically, they support special programs or projects rather than operational expenses. For example, the District Foundation may support the annual Summer Reading Program with funding for program supplies, presenters, and reading incentives, but not for the personnel expenses associated with planning and delivering an 8-week program. In summary, while the District is eligible for some types of grants and can receive donations, these funding sources only account for approximately 5% of the District’s annual operating budget.

Delta Library Project

Why is the Delta Library moving to a new building?

The current Delta Library Carnegie building is owned by the City of Delta. The City of Delta is selling the building to Delta County so that the County can expand the Sheriff’s office. The renovated City Market building will house the Delta Library and the City’s co-working and makerspace. When the project is completed, the Delta Library will move from the City-owned Carnegie building to the City-owned renovated building. The District does not own the Carnegie and will not own the renovated building. If the District were to remain in the Carnegie building, its future maintenance responsibilities would be two to three times higher than moving to the newly renovated building. The District is not contributing any library property tax revenue, which is its primary revenue source, toward this building project. The funds allocated for this project are distributed to the District from the County as capital funds (refer back to financial section for details).

Who is paying for the renovations of the new building?

The District is not contributing any library property tax revenue, which is its primary revenue source, toward this building project. The funds allocated for this project are distributed to the District from the County annually as capital funds. The County is paying for the bulk of the renovation project by contributing over 2.4 million dollars. The City of Delta is contributing $834,000 of its Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) received through the American Rescue Plan Act to this project. The allowable uses of SLFRF are restricted and this project is eligible because the coworking and makerspace components. The City is also contributing $430,000 of Rural Economic Development Grant funds received through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).  The District’s contribution is $534,000 to be paid from the capital funds distributed annually from the County (refer back to financial section for details). If the District were to remain in the Carnegie building, its maintenance responsibilities would be two to three times higher than the cost of moving to the newly renovated building. The $50,000 that the District receives annually from the County for capital projects has benefited all five libraries in Delta County for many years.

Staff and Volunteers

Why do the libraries have a staffing shortage?

The District strives to be a competitive employer in Delta County and struggles to hire new staff and retain staff for many reasons, some of which are budget-related. Neighboring counties like Mesa, Montrose and Gunnison are able to pay higher wages and recruit library professionals. In Delta County, it is easier to fill the entry-level circulation positions but very difficult to fill the specialized positions that require library experience. Since March of 2020 when COVID-19-related closures went into effect, the Libraries have lost many employees to early retirement, higher wages, and more flexible schedules. Additionally, when offering open positions to candidates, many decline to accept positions because they want higher pay or a more flexible schedule.

Why can't volunteers staff the Libraries?

The District currently utilizes and will continue to utilize our dedicated and highly-valued volunteers at all libraries. When employing volunteers, the District follows Colorado Library Law, which restricts the responsibilities of volunteers. Violations to privacy laws can be prosecuted as misdemeanors. Library volunteers compliment the work that library staff members are hired to do. Volunteers work on projects and many of them do shelving and cleaning. Volunteers make valuable contributions under the supervision of trained and experienced library employees. Library staff members are trained to offer consistent library services to every patron. They are responsible for understanding and complying with district-wide policies and procedures that are essential for daily operations. Library staff members are accountable for the oversight of valuable equipment and materials. They are trained to find and evaluate relevant information for diverse populations, ages, and needs. Library staff members are specifically trained to ascertain and meet people’s needs. So, while volunteers are a valuable component of a successful District, they cannot replace a skilled and trained team of library staff members.

How can I help?

There are so many ways that library supporters can help!

  • Join your local Friends of the Library
  • Submit an application to volunteer
  • Use your library card
  • Stay informed about what is happening at your libraries
  • Make a recurring or one-time donation
  • Visit your libraries and www.deltalibraries.org regularly
  • Join City Market Rewards or Amazon Smile and designate the Delta County Libraries’ Foundation as the recipient
  • Attend Library Board meetings
  • Follow Delta County Libraries on Facebook
  • Tell your friends and neighbors how important your libraries are to you

Library Board of Trustees Members

ESTHER KOONTZ
President

Hotchkiss
Term Ends: 01/31/2024

EMAIL ESTHER

GAYLE DAVIDSON
Vice President

Delta
Term Ends: 01/31/2027

EMAIL GAYLE

SUE WHITTLESEY
Treasurer

At Large
Term Ends: 01/31/2025

EMAIL SUE

LOUISE FIERRO
Secretary

Cedaredge
Term Ends: 01/31/2026

EMAIL LOUISE

PAUL FRAZIER
Trustee

At Large
Term Ends: 01/31/2027

EMAIL PAUL

TERESA SHISHIM
Trustee

Paonia
Term Ends: 01/31/2025

EMAIL TERESA

LAURA EARLEY
Ex Officio

EMAIL LAURA

Board Strategic Planning Retreat:

Tuesday, January 17 at 2:00 pm.

Location: Delta Library

Agenda

The Next Board Meeting:

Wednesday, January 18 at 4:00 pm.

Location: Cedaredge Library

Meeting Agenda

To join virtually, click the “Join Board Meeting w/ Zoom” button below.
Or, for audio only, call 1 253.215.8782, use the meeting ID: 889 3362 9225.

Join Board Meeting w/ Zoom

Past meeting minutes:

Upcoming meetings:

Each Board meeting is the 3rd Wednesday (with the exception of the December meeting, which is held on the 2nd Wednesday in order to meet budget deadlines) at 4:00pm unless change is required. Any change will be posted in advance on our website and in each library location. The public is always welcome and encouraged to attend.