Healthy sales-tax revenue promises stability for the Durango Public Library and the Durango/La Plata Senior Center budgets this year.
The directors for the two organizations presented their budgets and future plans Tuesday night to the La Plata County Commissioners and Durango City Council.
In September, the La Plata County Commissioners and the Durango City Council wrangled with the realty that the two entities have drawn down their fund balance, or savings, since 2009. If the funding structure remains the same it is unlikely the savings can be built back up. It was about $500,000 in 2009, and it was budgeted to be about $420,000 in 2014.
“At some point, we’re not going to have a fund balance if we continue,” said Councilor Keith Brant in September. He suggested the city manage the library and the county manage the senior center separately.
The two groups so far have agreed not to cut budgets to boost the savings but acknowledged that changes will have to be made at some point.
The library director presented a $2 million budget, which is 0.8 percent less than last year. The city and county joint sales tax contributes about $1.9 million to its budget. The library is maintaining some staffing cuts from 2009 to keep the budget stable, said Andy White, library director. The library also does not expect to improve its building this year. As a result, its capital funding dropped to zero from $27,500.
The Fort Lewis Mesa and the Sunnyside branches plan to stop mailing out newsletters, and that will save about $3,700. These branches are funded by the county and receive about $113,000 annually for operations.
County commissioners recently reached out to the community to find out if residents still valued the branches in at a public meeting and received about 40 emails on the issue.
“I’ve been convinced they are going to be used,” said Commissioner Julie Westendorff.
She was unable to say whether the branches would see any budget changes yet.
Durango/La Plata Senior Center Director Sheila Casey presented a $760,000 budget for 2015, down from $776,129. The Senior Center is budgeted to receive about $393,500 from the city and county, and grants and donations make up the remainder. The center also has about 375 volunteers, a significant contribution, Casey said,
In 2015, the center is hoping to expand to provide dental and mental-health care.