Town of Truckee: Taking over library might not be feasible
Despite calls from the community for the town to take over control of the Truckee Library, a recent study concluded that it may not be a feasible option right now.
According to a study by Management Partners, a consulting firm that specializes in local government, library revenues are projected to increase at 3 percent per year. However, salary and revenue expenses, which make up 70 percent of the operating budget, will increase at a faster rate.
Measure A sales tax revenue is the primary funding source for Nevada County libraries. The report assumed 26 percent of Measure A revenue would return to Truckee. However, a staff report states, this is well below the five-year annual average of 29.1 percent.
According to the report the “library budget is particularly vulnerable to economic downturn.” The report projected 90 percent of the library budget projected to come from Measure A sales tax, adding that “economic downturn tends to cause a more immediate and dramatic change to sales tax than to other revenue sources.”
Analyst: Funding would not follow
Due to specific language in Measure A, Hillary Hobbs, management analyst for the Town of Truckee, said that the legally the town could not have a truly independent library because they would not be eligible for Measure A funding.
“To be eligible for Measure A funding we still need to be part of Nevada County library system,” Hobbs said. “Our consultant concluded that the town taking over library management was not recommended.”
However, she said, the county could contract with the town to provide additional services in Truckee.
“It would provide a locally run look and feel but it would still be under the umbrella of Nevada County,” she said. “There was certainly strong council and community interest in the big goal of developing a new library facility for Truckee.”
While the town won’t manage the library, staff will continue to work on any improvements that can happen as well as plans for a new facility.
“I’m not completely shutting the door to considering town management at some point,” said Mayor David Tirman. “I think the numbers right now don’t really support that.”
FRIENDS: PERHAPS ANOTHER TIME
“I know it’s not the right time for the town to take over management of the library; we really would hope to work together to identify the circumstance that would allow the town to operate a library in the future,” said Louise Zabriskie, president of Friends of the Truckee Library.
In June of 2016, the Nevada County Executive Office submitted a letter to the town manager asking the town to explore the option and feasibility of taking over Truckee library services. The council expressed willingness to consider the change in January 2017, as long as the town had adequate funding to support it and the council was sure it would improve the current services offered.
This transition has been a vision of the library since 2010 when Friends of the Truckee Library engaged a consulting firm to evaluate feasibility of town operation.
Currently the library is housed in a 5,000-square-foot building. With town control, patrons of the library were hoping that Truckee would be able to construct a newer, bigger facility that can better cater to the community.
Nevada County does not currently have plans for improvements in the Truckee library in its long-term plan.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.