According to a recent operating and budget update provided by the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL), the Port McNeill library will, over the next five years, continue to operate at its current level.
VIRL recently released its vision and operating plan for 2020 through to 2024/25 and according to Brenda Leigh, Chair of the VIRL Board of Trustees, the plan is to continue to evolve and adapt to the new century style library, stating: “Our libraries are equalizers for literacy, learning and advancement of opportunities for all members of our communities.” Adding, “VIRL branches are lifelines to information, vital resources for families and newcomers, and space that nurture new enterprises and relationships.”
Joel Adams, Director of Finance, sees the budget as the foundation for the board’s desire to transition VIRL to a library of the 21st century. Those budgets and the resulting levy to homeowners are calculated based on the population and assessed property values in each community. In the case of Port McNeill, the 2019 population declined by 134 people while assessed property values increased by 5.64 per cent.
These figures run counter to Vancouver Island’s overall trend that shows population growth in the 5 per cent to 6 per cent range, and assessed values increasing at double the current rate of Port McNeill.
For Port McNeill, the result will be an overall levy decrease of just over 5 per cent or a total of $5,000 less than the current year.
This decline in revenue (levy) will, according to a budget summary released by VIRL, have no direct impact on the services being offered in Port McNeill.
David Carson, Director, Corporate Communications and Strategic Initiatives for VIRL, explained it this way: “The levy increases or decreases each year for every community, depending on the community’s population and assessed value as compared to the VIRL figures overall. A decrease in the core services levy does not reflect a reduction in services, just a decrease in the amount paid.”
According to Mr. Carson, core services include, “all costs of day-to-day operations for the organization, including wages, benefits, rent, purchase of library materials, and other operating costs. Since VIRL is a pooled system, each community contributes their levy to the system and costs are shared across all members.”
When asked how this budget will affect discussions about possible expansion plans for the Port McNeill library, Carson explained, “VIRL prepares a Capital Plan as part of the budget…Over the past few years we’ve discussed this [expansion] with Port McNeill. While nothing is included in the current Capital Plan, it is regularly reviewed to ensure it accurately reflects the planned work.”
– Bill McQuarrie article