Letter: Another side of the library budget story


I have read two letters recently from those who feel the Library was short changed during this budget cycle. Both letters make some extremely valid points; however, I feel one important FACT has been missed that everyone should be aware of. There was NOT A CUT or reduction to the Library’s budget allocation. In fact since 2014 the Library’s budget has increased by a little more than 22% each fiscal year.

In 2014, the Library’s approved budget was $251,178. In 2015, the library requested an increase of $56,00 or 22.3%. This request was approved by Council, and the 2015 approved budget for the Library was $307,178. During the 2016 budget process, the library requested an increase of $106,719 or 34%. Council had indicated many times that this was a tough budget year with many tough decisions to be made. With regard to the Library, they approved an increase of $76,719 or 24.9%.

Did everyone who receives grant funding from Morinville get an increase or did some have to take an actual decrease from previous years request? One has to look at the whole picture to determine if the cup is indeed half full or half empty. I know that I would be extremely excited to receive a 24.9% increase in my pension funding.

Thank you

Linda Lyons

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  1. An excellent letter Linda…

    Perhaps the time has come for the Library Board (as well as senior Library staff) to re-visit which of the programmes presently being offered might be reduced in scope and/or frequency, or even cancelled altogether.

    While I am confident that Mr. Norris and his cohorts have considered these suggestions (and probably others as well!) the fact remains that in these rather stressful economic times we, as taxpayers, simply cannot afford to fulfill everyone’s desires.

    • Hi Mr. O’Brien,
      Thanks for your thoughts on the library and our current financial situation 🙂 I am one of Mr. Norris’ cohorts on the library board and, you are right, we have considered many many suggestions on how to approach our current situation.

      One thing I would like to point out is in regards to your recommendation that the board should look at some of the library’s programming and consider reducing frequency or cutting programs all together–I think it’s important that people know: all the library’s programming runs on a cost-recovery basis, meaning it costs MPL no money to run these programs (most programs are run by volunteers and if staff are running the programs, they are also doing so as volunteers as well). So, unfortunately, there’s no cost saving to the library by reducing programming.

      If you are interested in learning more about library operations or take part in some of our discussions, we welcome you to our board meetings which are open to the public and take place on the second Thursday of each month.

      Jennifer Lavallee

  2. Linda,

    While I didn’t use the words cut or short-changed, I tried to argue that the library did deserve to be fully funded based on the programs and services it provides.

    I appreciate you looking at the numbers of the past few years. In fact, I encourage anyone to look at the Library’s budgets past and future as they do an excellent job of showing exactly where the money went and will go and planned increases due to inflation and the cost of doing business. However, the biggest difference between your pension and the Library is that it provides services to the public and pays wages, the cost of which regularly increases. I don’t recall the exact percentage of the increase due to the NDP government’s decision to raise the minimum wage, but I’m thinking it was around 30% of the proposed increase to the Library’s budget for 2016. But that was four months ago, so I could be wrong.

    James – Since I resigned from the Library Board in September, I am no longer part of anyone’s “cohort.” My suggestion was that if taxpayers were asked, many would choose to fully fund the Library over many (not all) of the other things that the Town needs and wants to fund. I do agree, however, that the Library has to make some very hard choices. You can’t do everything you want, so you have to pick your best and strongest horses and run with them.

    Like many, I’ll be very interested to see what happens. I wish the Board and Library success in the years ahead.


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