Orange County Charges

There are those who have some concerns about a new program being offer to libraries by the Orange County Library System.
bq.Why? It’s not because OCLS has launched their own webinar series for staff — OCLS really should indeed do this and share their successes, because they are seriously doing some awesome stuff with e-learning and online training. — but because in the greater spirit of collaboration and sharing among peers they are charging a hefty (at least for most smaller libraries) sum for it. – “Helene Blowers($75 for a session or $199 for the series … ???)”:http://www.librarybytes.com/2007/06/75-for-session-or-199-for-series.html Ordinarily, I would agree. But these days, I am having to deal with just the same sort of funding issues that Orange County is experiencing.
bq.Local governments across Central Florida are working to rebalance their books because of property tax cuts. On Tuesday, Orange County leaders will debate potential plans, although they have already said next year there will be no new construction of parks or fire stations. In many counties, including Orange County, some road-paving and road-widening plans would probably be delayed, including plans for commuter rail. – “Central Florida News(Orange County Debates Budget Cuts)”:http://www.cfnews13.com/News/Local/2007/6/26/orange_county_debates_budget_cuts.html Which, although isn’t mentioned in that article, is carrying over to the Library.
bq.How Will Property Tax Reform Affect Library Service? That’s a good question but impossible to answer since there is no way to predict the outcome of the upcoming special legislative session in June. Like other tax supported services throughout Florida, the Orange County Library System is uncertain whether or how it will be impacted by any changes in the property taxes. The Orange County Library System is primarily funded from property taxes, and 85% of the current year’s budget comes from this source. Further, the Library has limited options to raise significant revenues from other sources. Although the size of the reduction in tax revenues is unknown, we must prepare for a variety of possible scenarios and potential impacts that is very likely to result in a reduced budget for the Library. – “Mary Anne Hodel(Tax Reform Impact)”:http://www.ocls.info/impact.asp Do I think that it is a good thing for them to charge for this sort of program? No. Do I understand why they are? Yes. If you pay attention to Florida Libraries over the next few years and things don’t change, expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing.