At the PPL Finance Committee meeting on December 19, Associate Director Dan Austin presented the first draft of the FY 08 budget.
The good news is that it includes the branch children’s specialists in the projected staff salary figures. (When a trustee asked about this point blank, Dan Austin said something about there being strong support for keeping the positions. We’re not sure just how solid this commitment is, however.)
The bad news is that PPL is projecting a deficit of nearly one million dollars. (And this doesn’t include the likelihood that the state will cut its Grant-in-Aid funding, which PPL didn’t realize was a possibility when it compiled this early draft of the budget. The main reason for the expanded deficit prediction is, of course, the increase in pension payments which PPL must make starting next year due to changes in the federal law.
Dan Austin suggested that the trustees should consider one of three alternatives for dealing with this drastically increased deficit:
(1) PPL should reorganize itself as the Central Library plus three large branches–closing the other six branches.
(2) PPL should ask the City to run (and finance) the branches while PPL runs the Central Library.
(3) PPL should spend enough of its endowment to cover the deficit.
No one suggested that PPL should engage in more aggressive fund-raising and increase its revenues.
At the monthly PPL Board meeting on December 20, only SEVEN trustees showed up–out of the nearly thirty board members! A pretty poor showing, especially as the board was presented with the proposed 2008 budget for the first time. There were almost as many staff persons on hand as there were PPL trustees.
Associate Director Dan Austin again presented the FY 08 budget to the trustees on hand, and he suggested again that the trustees had three options for balancing the budget. Additional fund-raising was not discussed (again).
The FY 08 budget includes the seven Children’s Specialists in its salary projections, but the word is that these positions are still slated for elimination this March and it is unlikely that the Children’s Specialists would be rehired at the beginning of the new fiscal year this summer, given deficit projections.