Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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October 17, 2012

Library board approves 2013 budget

GOSHEN — The Goshen Public Library Board of Trustees adopted the 2013 budget — but don’t expect to see all of those funds realized, according to library director Andy Waters.

Waters said the budget, which reflects the allowed 2.8 percent increase because of the “Indiana growth factor,” will probably come in short with funds from state officials because of property tax caps. The board approved $2,253,654 for 2013.

“If we don’t put the percentage in, we won’t see any increases at all (if the state did happen to collect more property taxes than expected),” Waters said. “We’re allowed to advertise for the increase in the budget, but by the time it’s approved down state, the property tax caps have limited what’s collected.”

Waters called the 2013 budget a “placemarker budget,” but expected to be short funds.

“The budget process allows us to ask for the increase, but we will not get that,” Waters said. “For the past six years of so, the budget has been dropping.”

Waters said those low revenues from property taxes are one of the main reasons behind the hour changes at the library. Reduced hours of operation at the library started in September.

Waters said the library may be short for 2012, too, but he won’t know until the second portion of property tax funds is disbursed in late October, November and late December. Property taxes are disbursed in the spring and fall, Waters said, and while the spring funds may seem on track, the fall distribution is normally where the past years have fallen short on money.

“We won’t know until just about Dec. 31,” Waters said. “We were short about $70,000 last year (in the December 2011 property tax revenue).”

Final bond payment

The board members also approved an additional appropriations of funds from the Rainy Day Fund to make the final payment on the library’s 20-year bond.

The bond payment will be in the $90,000 range, but the appropriation was for $100,000, just in case, according to Waters.

The payments are normally made from the bond fund, but Waters said the funds just aren’t there. The additional appropriation is necessary to make the final payment, he said.

“If we didn’t pay this way, the only other way is from the operating fund, and that wouldn’t be good, seeing how tight we already are,” Waters said.

The Rainy Day Fund had $666,880.27, before the appropriation.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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