By Sean Tubbs
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Albemarle County Supervisor
said Wednesday that the Scottsville library will not be shut down as a way to close a budget shortfall.
“The fears that people have that the library is going to be shut down are without foundation,” Dorrier said.
Both Dorrier and County Attorney
said the agreement that governs the
Jefferson-Madison Regional Library
prevents the library system’s Board of Trustees from using money set aside for local branches to pay for regional or administrative services.
“They can’t just take all of the cuts from the local funding,” Dorrier said.
Library funding has emerged as a flashpoint since Albemarle County Executive
unveiled a budget proposal for the next fiscal year that would trim funding for myriad programs and services.
The regional library system’s budget would be cut by 5 percent.
Library trustees responded by formally recommending the closure of the Scottsville branch and reducing hours at
That prompted Dorrier’s declaration at the beginning of Wednesday’s
Board of Supervisors
The agreement describes how costs are to be shared amongst JMRL’s six jurisdictions and defines three categories of operating costs. First, all jurisdictions contribute to library administration and system-wide services. Second, Charlottesville and Albemarle County both contribute to funding of the Central, Gordon Avenue and Northside libraries.
Finally, each jurisdiction contributes a “local cost” to operate branches within their borders. Albemarle County is the sole supporter of both the Crozet and Scottsville branches.
Davis agreed with Dorrier’s interpretation of the agreement.
“They could not take those funds and reallocate them for regional services or for Charlottesville-Albemarle Services,” Davis said. He said if trustees choose to close Scottsville, they will not only lose the money for that branch, but would still have to reduce funding for administration and the three branches it co-funds with Charlottesville by 5 percent.
Library trustee Tim Tolson said he did not have the same reading of the agreement. By restricting cuts to branches that only serve Albemarle, the library board has limited service reductions to the community that he says has decided not to pay its fair share.
“We have been through other lean budgetary times in Albemarle and have always been able to come to a compromise,” Tolson said.