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Budget Resources and Tips

 

Simplified budget "equation"

Estimating some expenditures

Personnel

Materials

Other

Estimating revenue

County payments

System (state aid) payments

Federal

Funds carried forward

Statutes related to budgets

Types of budgets

Line item budget

Program budget

Tips to help you get the local funds you request

Budget format

Percentages

Levy limits

Documentation

Statistics

Break it down

Testimonials / Anecdotes

Presentation

After the budget appropriation is approved

Budget calendar

Resources

 

Simplified budget "equation"

At its simplest level, to calculate the amount to request from your municipality (C):


However,this can be an oversimplification.  If you don't get all that you estimate from other sources, you will still need enough to operate.  Providing this "cushion" is the responsibility of the municipality which established the library. 


Similarly, if you get more than you expect, or a healthy increase, from another source (for example, your county), that doesn't relieve the municipality of their responsibility—rather, it should be an opportunity for the library to pursue new initiatives, or to make up for past budget shortfalls. 

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Estimating expenditures

Personnel

 

Materials

Others

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Estimating Revenue

County payments.  Wisconsin Statutes 43.12 requires counties (that don't maintain a consolidated county library) to reimburse libraries in the county, and adjacent counties, for serving residents that aren't residents of a municipality that maintains a public library. 

Formula (all figures come from your most recent annual report):

System (state aid) payments.    Most member libraries receive a small amount of system funds for Summer Library Program (SLP) activities.

Federal.   You may receive some LSTA funds through an SCLS grant, or if you applied for and were awarded one on your own. 

Funds carried forward.   It is the opinion of DLTCL that the exclusive control of the library board includes the authority to carry forward unexpended funds from one year to the next. 

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Statutes related to municipal library budgets

Exemption from county tax.  The municipality must appropriate at least enough to exempt from the library portion of the county tax, or its residents will be "double taxed" (by both the municipality and the county) for library services.  Wis. Stat. 43.64

Board's exclusive control.  The library board, not the municipality, has exclusive control of the money appropriated for the library fund.  Wis. Stat. 43.58(1)

(A third statute, commonly called "Maintenance of Effort," was eliminated in the 2011-2013 Wisconsin State Budget.  Your municipality is no longer required to appropriate for your operating budget at least the average of their operating appropriation for the previous 3 years.) 

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Two types of budgets (there are others)

Line item budget

Program budget

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Tips to help you get the local funds you request

Budget format.  Use the format and guidelines your municipality requires, but back them up with documented information about what you really need.

Percentages.  Municipal officials will often talk about percentages.  It is wise to try to deflect this, by explaining that 2% of the library's budget, for example, is very different from 2% of the budget for streets. 

Levy limits For 2012 budgets, municipalities are under a tax levy limit of 0%, or the percentage of net new construction, whichever is greater, OR they may exceed these limits if approved by referendum.   (Net New Construction figures typically become available in August.) During these years, local governments can also calculate their limit based on the prior year’s allowable, as opposed to actual, tax levy.   You may find the Department of Revenue's FAQ on Levy Limits and the League of Wisconsin Muncipalities' Brief Explanation helpful. 

Documentation.  It helps to back up the amounts in your budget request with a carefully chosen blend of statistics and anecdotes. 

 

 

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Presentation.  In addition to your budget request, and your written documentation, it is wise to make an oral presentation.  The following tips may help you:


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After the budget appropriation is approved.   This is time for library director and board to review how the budget process went:

Typical Budget calendar (adapted from "Developing the Library Budget", DPI.  Your actual calendar may vary)

February-March
  • Review annual report for trends, needed changes, etc.
Spring
  • Review strategic plan and progress toward goals
Mid-Year
  • Review current year revenue and expenditures
  • Municipality sets budget calendar and process
Summer
  • After discussion with board, director drafts preliminary budget
Late Summer / Early Fall
  • Board approves or revises budget
  • Director submits board-approved budget request to municipality
  • Director prepares documentation for budget hearing
Fall
  • Budget reviewed by mayor, administrator, or finance committee
  • May request additional information
  • Budget hearing
Fall
  • Final budget approval

Late fall

(post approval)

  • Thank-you's
  • Reallocate budget lines if necessary
  • Evaluate, make notes for next year
Ongoing
  • Monitor expenditures

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Resources

 

For more information about library budgets, contact Mark Ibach.