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 … ???)”: 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)”: 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)”: 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.

Posted by Michael K Pate

Michael K. Pate tends to spend a great deal time of time around computers. He has been a Librarian since 1997. Michael was born in Avon Park, Florida in 1966. Except for a couple of brief periods in his life (once in Tampa and once in Winter Haven/Haines City), he has been a life-long resident. Originally, he planned on a career as a Computer Programmer and therefore graduate from Webber College with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems in 1988. However, unhappy with career opportunities at the time, he soon returned to school and received a BS in Social Science Education from the University of South Florida. He began his career in education at Avon Elementary and later Avon Park Middle working as a Computer Lab Coordinator. While technological challenges were interesting, he found himself more and more interested in becoming a Media Specialist. He began work on his MLS in 1995. However, a summer internship at the Sebring Public Library in 1996 soon made him reconsider just what his career should be. Upon graduation in 1997, he secured a position as a Media Specialist at Eastside Elementary in Haines City. Eventually, the position he was looking for opened up and he returned to SPL as Reference Librarian in 1999. In 2003, he became Assistant Director of the Highlands County Library System, serving in that role until the position was eliminated during a late round of budget cuts in 2010. Since then, he has been the Computer Support Specialist for the Heartland Library Cooperative. In 2011, he began serving on the Board of Directors of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium.