March 2017 Director’s Message:
March is here, and that means it’s budget season for the Town of Essex. As you know, our State’s financial situation is difficult, to say the least, so it is anticipated that severe cuts will be made to the assistance it provides to cities and towns. The “trickle down” effect of those cuts will likely have an impact on the Town’s appropriation to the Library this year. Last year the amount of support we received was kept level from the year before and we anticipate that that will, at best, be the case again this year. Approximately 50% of our annual operating revenue comes from the Town, so that funding is obviously extremely important. Although we have made prudent adjustments to our spending, the non-discretionary costs of operating the Library (utilities, etc) inevitably increase each year. Meanwhile, it has become ever more challenging to find, and retain, other revenue sources. For example, the financial support that the Library used to receive from the State, which has been dwindling for several years, will be completely eliminated in the coming fiscal year. What’s more, this year we will have to begin paying for two services that the State had provided free of charge up until now – our internet connection and the delivery service that moves items that libraries borrow from each other for their patrons. Paying for those two vital resources will automatically increase our operating budget expense by approximately $7,000 per year. The combination of less funding and higher expenses is, quite frankly, unsustainable and will eventually force us to cut services, which we are loath to do. We respect the hard work, and appreciate the challenging circumstances, that the Town’s Boards of Selectmen and Finance are facing as they develop next year’s budget. We ask, however, that you take a few moments to contact them in order to request that they preserve funding for the Library. Your support is critical.