Budget cuts force Henderson Libraries to make changes

Libraries’ property tax revenues projected to decline 15 percent

HENDERSON, Nev. – Library budgets nationwide are being cut as a result of the economy, and Henderson Libraries’ budget has been significantly reduced since early 2008. Now, due to a projected 15 percent drop in property tax revenue, the library district must cut the budget again.

Funding for Henderson Libraries comes from two primary sources:

  • 21 percent from the consolidated tax, made up of sales tax, motor vehicle privilege tax, and others.
  • 75 percent from property tax, or ad valorem.

Since Fiscal Year 2008, Henderson Libraries’ revenue from the consolidated tax has declined 23 percent.

As a result of these earlier revenue losses, Henderson Libraries’ book and materials budget has been reduced by 20 percent in the past year. With further revenue declines, the book and materials budget will take another 8 percent cut in July.

“In a down economy, library use naturally goes up. At Henderson Libraries, our circulation of material has increased by more than 40 percent and new registrations are up 33 percent,” said Tom Fay, executive director for Henderson Libraries. “Unfortunately, in a down economy, libraries’ funding significantly decreases, since it is so dependent upon sales and property taxes. Our goal is to remain as effective as possible within our current limitations.”

As a result of a decision made at its Feb. 18 Board meeting, Henderson Libraries is offering a VESP (Voluntary Employee Severance Plan) to 19 employees. Eligible employees have until May 14 to decide whether they will accept.

On average locally, according to Fay, about 20 percent of those eligible for a VESP take it. To be eligible, employees must be actively employed as a full-time employee on March 30 and his or her combined age and service years with the District must equal or be greater than 60.

If all eligible employees elect to take the VESP, the District would save $968,000 in salaries.  (This does not take into account savings associated with benefits.) The net savings in the first year would equal $297,000, not including benefit savings. The full savings of the VESP will be felt in 2012.

Additionally, Henderson Libraries will be shortening its work week from 40 hours to 38 hours, and each staff member will be receiving a 5 percent pay cut as of March 21. No layoffs are currently planned.

“With this type of revenue reduction, all library programs and services will be affected, and unfortunately, this is only the first phase of budget cuts that will likely be necessary to see the library district through this projected revenue decrease,” Fay said.

Established in 1943 as a single library in Downtown Henderson, Henderson Libraries operates six locations throughout Henderson. Henderson Libraries cooperates with other public libraries in Southern Nevada, the Nevada System of Higher Education, the Clark County School District and all other libraries around the state to provide quality service for Nevada’s residents.

For more information on Henderson Libraries and its many services and resources, visit www.mypubliclibrary.com or call 702-492-6580.

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