At last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, members of the Wilton Library’s Board of Trustees and staff presented an update on the Library’s financial status as of the third quarter that ended in March 2017. As Board treasurer Robert Kelso told the selectmen, “The news is good news.”
For the third quarter operating revenues were $44,000 below budget but according to Kelso that deficit was more than made up by lower expenses of $92,000. He added that lower revenues were offset by lower related expenses–for example program revenue numbers were down but that led to related expenses being down as well.
Overall, the third quarter budget is favorable by $47,000.
In terms of the library’s restricted budget, there were no plus or minus variances for the third quarter.
“I’m happy to say it looks good,” he noted, adding that last night’s report would be the last report he would give as Library treasurer, so he was thankful it was a positive report.
A couple items of interest that Kelso pointed out:
- Program revenues fell about $20,000 below what had been expected, primarily because of staffing changes that limited the number of programs the library offered during the last quarter; but as noted above, Kelso said that as a result there were reduced expenses approximately equal to what was lost in revenues so it basically evened out.
- The pension expense, came in $40,000 lower than expected, and Kelso said he wasn’t sure why but he was pleasantly surprised.
- State grant funds came in below what the library had expected.
- Health benefit expenses were lower than expected, but salaries were a little bit higher, again due to staffing changes
The presentation was also the last for outgoing Board president Glen Hemmerle, who remarked that he has been involved with the library board for the last 10 years. “It has been an incredibly gratifying experience from the very beginning,” he said. “From great author talks to intimate concerts to weathering storms (which the Library has gotten very good at every year), to the annual Spring Galas, it’s just been a remarkable time.”
Hemmerle also thanked library executive director Elaine Tai-Lauria, who, he said, “…works harder than anyone I know.”
Tai-Lauria noted that the Library is seeing continued high levels of patron usage, including a 2.5% increase in patron visits. Some of the trends that have impacted the stability include steady circulation numbers; an increase in program attendance (despite cutting back the number of programs offered); and huge upward trends in downloadable and streaming media usage as well as online tutorials.
“People are taking advantage of the resources we have put in place.”
She also noted that facility rentals are an area the Library continues to offer, and that the Library is hosting its second-ever wedding celebration on the premises.