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Census expected to bring about $100,000 in additional state funding for Berkeley Co. Libraries

Increase not likely to go into effect until fiscal year 2013

February 02, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The 2010 census is expected to be worth about $100,000 in additional state funding for Berkeley County's public libraries, but the system's executive director told Berkeley County Council members Wednesday the additional money may not arrive for another fiscal year.

"I'm hoping that it kicks in fiscal year 2012, which of course will start this coming July, but the rumors I'm hearing are that it may not start until 2013," Pamela Coyle said in a budget presentation to council.

The reason being given is that there is not enough time to review the new census data to make changes to the population-based funding allocations across the state, Coyle said.

Census projections have indicated Berkeley County was one of only four or five counties out of the state's 55 that experienced a substantial population gain since the 2000 census, Coyle noted.

"We're looking at ... a little over $100,000 increase in our funding from the state level if that goes into effect," Coyle said.

"But that means that there are small libraries ... in the southern part of the (state) that basically lose almost all of their state funding."

With the negative impact looming for libraries elsewhere, Coyle said it is understandable why the funding reallocation might not be instituted.

State Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley/Jefferson, said Wednesday that the census-related funding adjustment that Coyle desires has not been discussed, but he doesn't expect the new census figures to arrive from the federal government until after the state's budget for fiscal 2012 has been practically completed.

"If we don't have the numbers, we don't have the numbers," said Unger, who is a member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Unger said he doesn't expect the census data to be released until sometime in March.

Given the timing of legislature's 60-day regular session, which this year ends on March 12, lawmakers expect to hold a special session later this year to redraw political district lines in accordance with the new census numbers, Unger said.

Coyle said there was a movement to adjust the funding allocation in 2005 to keep up with population changes since the  2000 census, but the state held off after discovering that Berkeley County's public library system stood to gain almost all of the funding.

In addition to the state funding, the county's library system receives a portion of property tax revenue from Martinsburg, Berkeley County and school board as required by a state law. The county's portion of funding for the current fiscal year is $688,039.

The school board's funding, beginning in the new 2012 fiscal year, will come from excess levy-generated money, Coyle said.

In other matters, Coyle said library officials are considering replacing their DVD entertainment video service with a Redbox movie rental system.

A Redbox kiosk would save a lot of space and eliminate the cost of replacing damaged DVDs and the task of keeping up with the latest movie releases, Coyle said.

In additional DVD rentals, Coyle noted the library now has e-books that can be downloaded free of charge in addition to the library's audio book service. The e-book service is not available for Kindle, Amazon.com's e-book reader, because it is proprietary, Coyle said.

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