Letter: Do your research on Basalt library tax
Taxpayers, you may have missed the major issue of the proposed mill levy increase; the entire question is the Basalt library board’s definition of adequate reserves. Please go to their web page, look up the 2016 approved budget and you will see a cash reserve in the operating fund of $844,000, which was revised to $878,000 in the 2017 budget.
I suggest you request copies of their proposed 2017 budget with and without the funds from the mill levy increase. The “with mill levy increase” proposed budget shows a $75,000 increase in the cash reserves to a balance of $953,000; the “without mill levy increase” proposed budget shows a decrease in the cash reserves of $40,000 to a balance of $838,000. Should the mill levy measure fail, the board has said they would close one day a week and fire all part time staff to maintain this cash reserve in the operating fund of $838,000.
This decision does not seem appropriate given the large reserve balances. These reserves are more than adequate; they are excessive. Adequate reserves should be maintained at a level to fund three and a half to four months of operating expense of the library. This allows the payment of bills incurred during the period of January through April before the library receives their funding from Eagle and Pitkin counties. The library board is asking for a total of $2.45 million new tax dollars over seven years with no consideration to the additional revenue that will be generated from new construction and the reassessment of existing real property over this same period of time.
Something is not right here. These are your tax dollars in the excess reserve amounts. These excess reserves are not necessary for the continued operation of the Basalt Regional Library and should not be increased by the new mill levy. Only you, with your vote, can decide what should be deemed as an excess and what is necessary. I want all to realize I am a supporter of the library, but I am a greater supporter of transparency in the financial management of taxpayer dollars.
David J. Slaybaugh
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