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A Word from the Library Director

Published on Mon, 06/25/2018 - 07:36am
steve potter

Steven V. Potter shares views on MCPL’s FY 2018-19 budget.

It is quickly approaching “Library New Year.” Mid-Continent Public Library’s fiscal year starts on July 1, and one of the most significant events that occurs beforehand annually is the consideration of a new budget for the coming year. A budget can be a dry financial document; however, it is also an important communications tool.

As one of my professors in college used to emphasize—a budget should demonstrate what an organization values and what it sees as important. I think a budget should be a planning document—like a road map, charting the organization’s future course. When you put it like that, the annual budget actually sounds pretty exciting!

The proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year is particularly interesting in two ways. First, it is the first budget that reflects the activation of the Capital Improvement and Replacement Plan. This plan was a substantial part of Proposition L, a measure proposing a new vision for the Library, which more than 62 percent of voters in the Library’s district endorsed in 2016. When complete, the Capital Plan will result in the improvement or replacement of all the Library’s facilities. Second, the draft budget was released on the same night MCPL’s Board of Trustees adopted a new strategic plan. The execution of both of these plans will be a significant part of the 2018-19 fiscal year and will ensure a bright future for MCPL and its customers.

In addition to developing the annual budget, another important duty that must be completed before July 1 is for MCPL to demonstrate how it calculates its property tax levy (its main source of revenue). The Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri (RSMO) have a very detailed process for this task, including setting a time to receive public comment on the levy rate. Interestingly, there is no requirement in the RSMO to receive comments on the budget itself, but it has become MCPL’s practice to receive budget comments during the official hearing on its levy rate.

This year’s levy and budget hearing will be held at MCPL’s North Independence Branch on June 14 at 2:00 p.m. for anyone who is interested learning more about, or expressing their opinions on, either issue.

A budget is more than a list of numbers—it provides direction for the future. Join us on June 14 to discuss Mid-Continent Public Library’s budget, and see where we plan to go over the next year.

Steven V. Potter
Library Director & CEO



I stopped by the Blue Ridge Branch and took a look at the proposed budget. I was glad to see that there is a proposed $2M increase for payroll. I am hopeful that this means that my former, hard-working, dedicated-to-the-cause co-workers will receive the pay raises they were promised when we were asked to help promote Prop-L. MCPL employees continue to be paid less than other library staff in adjoining library systems like Johnson County Public Library and Kansas City Public Library. Yes, value your patrons by providing them with beautiful spaces, robust collections, up-to-date technology, and top-notch resources--but you must also value your staff by providing them with a wage that enables them to take care of themselves and their responsibilities, and is reflective of the exceptional work they are doing every single day.

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