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BWG library board drafts budget with focus on 'quality services'

Budget also addresses county's 'regrettable' decision to cut library services
MAY  05-05-2022-gmb26
The Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library is shown in this file photo.

The finance committee of the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library Board has prepared a draft budget that implements efficiencies found through a detailed service-delivery review, continues to invest in quality services and addresses Simcoe County’s regrettable decision to significantly cut their library services.

The draft budget will be presented to the library board in September and then to the new council as part of the 2023 budget deliberations.

“Throughout the pandemic, our library board very carefully managed our budget, not only saving taxpayers over $460,000 through reduced costs, but also investing over $200,000 into reserves to prudently plan for the future,” said board chair Jennifer Harrison. “At the same time, we’ve made significant improvements such as the new digital creation lab, hired a new manager of cultural programming to animate the cultural centre and diversity part of the library’s mandate, and saved our patrons money by eliminating late fines and programming fees so parents, kids and seniors can enjoy the library for free and truly as a public service.”

“Over the past year post-pandemic, we’ve also engaged in a service-delivery review to directly look at ways we can find efficiencies and improve the library’s operations. This process resulted in a recommendation to cancel an external contract for janitorial services, which will save taxpayers over $48,000 per year. As well, our transition to LED lighting, once completed, will save taxpayers about $5,000 per year in hydro costs,” said Coun. Jonathan Scott, vice-chair of the board and chair of the finance committee.

“Unfortunately, despite their obdurate talking point that their significant cuts would somehow miraculously not download costs to local boards, Simcoe County’s slashing of their library services will in fact cost our library at least $89,500 this year in order to maintain services to our patrons. This is a direct consequence of a bad decision the county made despite unanimous opposition from librarians and library boards. In order to mitigate these downloaded costs, we continue to call on the county to give Bradford West Gwillimbury its per capita share of their remaining library budget as a cash transfer of roughly $25,000 to try to fix the mess they’ve made completely unnecessarily,” said Scott.

“I know residents love our library and value the services provided to help seniors, young families and people of all ages to learn, grow and experience new things. Our library board has made significant progress to improve services and to carefully manage our budgets, and I couldn’t be more proud of what we have achieved these past four years. We are leaving the library in even better shape than we found it for the next board,” said Harrison.