Longboat Library pushes for funds

The Longboat Library is urging the Town for financial help.

Editor & Publisher

Normally the Longboat Key Goals and Objectives meeting is like a family planning session — a veritable community wish list that the Commission considers as it heads to budgeting.

But this year, the sparks flew as a Longboat Library spokesperson accused the Town of favoring spending money and resources on Public Tennis Center while the Library faces financial woes and possible extinction in seven years.

“It (the Tennis Center) has 400 members and is getting more help from the Town than 800-plus members of the library. Now, the Town lets us put the trash out (in its dumpster), but we as representatives of members would like to have some serious consideration,” said Eileen Nassal.

“Last year we asked for the insurance to be paid — we paid for the building and you end up with it — you have the asset. We are responsible for the maintenance. We improved the roof; improved your property,” she continued.

Next, Nassal held up a printout reflecting the Tennis Center budget and she said it appears the Tennis Center lost closer to $58,000, not the near-break-even that is purported.

Those comments came after the Tennis Center had given an upbeat outlook and said it lost only $5,600 last year.

Town Manager Dave Bullock spoke up on the herculean task of making sense of the town budget at a fast glance.

“The arcane requirements of public accounting make it impossible for someone to look at some element of the budget and make sense,” said Bullock.

Finance Director Tom Kelly, who is trained in working in those arcane requirements, said the Tennis Center in fact lost $5,600 last year and $3,100 in 2010.

The bottom line request by the library is to have an ongoing line item in the Town budget. Although the library received a $20,000 grant from Sarasota County, it is still operating at a $10,000 per year deficit.

“We would like to somehow get a line item so in seven years we are not obsolete,” said Library President Elect Patrice Greene.

The Library is not a part of the County library system.


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