Library audit reflects operation in holding pattern

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Falling funds limiting introduction of new services

The Barry-Lawrence Regional Library received a positive audit for its fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2016, but library leaders warned the grants and bequests that supported improvements would not continue into the 2016-2017 year.

Kurt Krueger, with The CPA Group in Monett, reported the library's audit received an unmodified opinion, indicating no problems with the organization's record keeping. The cash and cash equivalent tally showed the library ended its fiscal year at $1,038,700, a drop of $701 from the previous year.

The audit showed the library received $1,404,762.23 in local property taxes to support operations, 86 percent of the total income. Of the remaining $235,767, almost half of that, or 7 percent of the total, was memorials and donations. The library earned $68,492.33 from charges for fines for books and cards, and photocopies and faxes, or 4 percent of the total. State aid and grants provided $20,670.06, or less than 2 percent of the total, down from $82,000 the previous year. The remaining 3 percent came from federal e-rate grants, the book sale and investment income.

After the proposed property tax levy failed in April, management cut Saturday hours and reduced spending on salaries by 3 percent from its initial budget. Changes reduced employee insurance by more than $30,000. One new position was added with benefits.

Beyond that, the library did not reduce its other spending for the year significantly. Capital outlay, expected to run around $7,000, ended up at almost $26,000. Gifts enabled furnishing purchases to grow from $7,350 to nearly $73,000.

Administrative Assistant Joyce Frazier said several branches are facing major maintenance projects, the Aurora Branch having already absorbed $50,000 and still facing roof issues. Krueger said the library was the third entity to have mentioned roof issues to him.

Krueger asked if the library leaders thought they were trending up, down or maintaining.

"I'd say we're probably on the maintenance side," Milburn said. "We can maintain. We can't offer new services."

Krueger found the library had not earmarked its restricted funds in his records, though library leadership knew what funds were set aside for specific gifts and branches. He took that information and incorporated it into the final version of the audit, presented in December.

This revision showed the library has $1,043,618.96 in its unassigned fund balance, or approximately 4.5 months of operating capital. Krueger said the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recommends school districts have enough in savings to cover three months of operating expenses. The library's savings represented a prudent reserve.

In addition, at the end of the audit year, the library had reserve funds of $332,927.78 set aside for the Monett Branch construction project, not counting uncollected pledges; $68,675.19 for the Marionville Branch, $76,312.95 for the Shell Knob Branch, and $5,800 restricted for expenses of the Monett and Cassville branches.

Other assigned funds included $100,000 for technology services, $50,000 in maintenance, $38,201.27 in prepaid expenses and $5,000 for e-books.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: