Sunday, June 10, 2012

(SOLANO CO) Grand jury rips Dixon library


The Dixon Public Library District is on financially shaky ground and in no shape to build a new facility, according to a Solano County grand jury report released this week.

Grand jurors cited shrinking revenues and increased spending, especially in regard to the proposed new library.

Building reserves totaled nearly $764,000 by 2007. Two years later, officials spent $427,000 on land for the new library, $110,000 on an environmental survey, $85,000 on conceptual plans and more on other pre-construction costs.

"At the time of the grand jury review, the building reserve within the General Fund had a balance of $0.12," the report notes.

The Building Fund apparently suffers a similar fate.

"Although construction and development fees continue to be deposited in the Building Fund, the fund balance as of June 30, 2011, was $43.26," the report states. "To date, the district has spent more than $2 million on pre-construction costs for a new library; however, the district has no money to actually build the facility. The grand jury learned that a plan to ask voters to approve a bond measure to pay for construction was never finalized."

The report questions the district's decision to continue on with the building plans.

"The district has little to show for its $2 million dollar investment and little hope of building a new library facility in the near future," it said.

Other issues noted in the report include untimely audits, with the last one dated August 2011, more than a year after the end of the reporting period. To fix the matter, the grand jury recommends that audits be completed no later than 180 days after the close of the reporting period.

Addressing the library district's finances, the grand jury suggests that the Governing Board of Library Trustees develop a financial plan to address the fiscal upheaval and determine the economic benefit and viability of joining the Solano County Library System.

The grand jury's concern regarding the possible expiration of Measure L, the 1/8-cent library sales tax slated to expire in October 2014, is moot as voters in this week's primary election approved the extension of Measure L by an overwhelming majority.

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