How is the Library funded?

The Barrington Area Library District is located across 4 counties: Cook, Kane, Lake, and McHenry. The Library is mandated to submit a levy each year in order to run operations and provide services to the community. Each year, the Library specifies an amount to levy from the portion of those counties that it serves, in order to collect tax funding for Library services.

What is the levy?

The levy is the taxing process all taxing bodies go through in order to collect the portion of funds necessary to operate services in the community. If taxing bodies do not levy for a year, they will not have the funds to provide service in that year. Via the levy, the Library requests a specific dollar amount from its four counties, which is converted into a tax rate that applies to the overall Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) in its service area.

How does the Library determine its levy request?

The Library creates an annual budget to project the need for financial resources. This request, or tax levy, pays for not only the daily maintenance and operation of the Library building, but for staffing, collections, and the many services the Library provides to the community.

What is a tax rate?

The tax rate is calculated by dividing the dollar amount of the Library’s levy by the total Equalized Assessed Value of the property in the Library District. The counties take the levy amount requested by the Library and calculate the tax rate needed to raise the revenue allowable by law.

What is the EAV and what does it mean for my tax bill?

EAV stands for Equalized Assessed Value, and it is how all taxes are determined for an individual taxpayer. This calculation takes the value of your property and runs it against that year’s tax rate. The resulting amount are the taxes owed.

What does the Library’s levy mean to my individual tax bill?

The Library levies taxes based on a dollar amount. That dollar amount is limited to an increase of the Consumer Price Index or 5%, whichever is less.

When the Total EAV in the district increases (this means the value of all taxable property in the Library’s service area), the tax rate decreases to ensure that the taxing districts only receive the dollars to which they are entitled. Conversely, when the Total EAV decreases, the tax rate increases to ensure that the taxing district receives the funding permitted by law.

How does the Library plan for the long-term future?

Every year, the Library District calculates what is needed in order to maintain and add services. This runs the gamut from the purchasing of circulating materials, maintaining on-site resources for visitors, repairing and maintaining the building and grounds, staffing the library, and beyond. Both short term goals (for example, innovations in programming for the coming year) and long term goals that require saving (such as a new HVAC system, or furnishings) must be considered.

Why does the Library have money in reserve?

According to the Government Finance Officers Association, “It is essential that governments maintain adequate levels for fund balance to mitigate current and future risks.” Maintaining 6 to 12 months of reserves in each fund allows the Library to continue to operate physical locations and maintain staffing and service levels in case of emergencies, unplanned events, or when levy distributions are not received as expected. It also helps to keep the long term tax rates stable.

What are the different funds and what do they do?

The Library distributes its money across several designated funds (General, IMRF, FICA, Special Reserve, Building, Insurance, and Donations/Grants). General fund is money needed for operations, while IMRF and FICA are funds designated for what the Library is required to pay for employee benefits, Special Reserve is money saved for capital projects that will take place within 1 to 3 years (for example, roofing or furniture replacement). Building is money dedicated to repairs and maintenance of the District’s 60,000 square foot facility and 10 acres of land. Insurance is money dedicated to coverage for business. The Donations/Grants Fund contains non-taxpayer funds received by the Library, and dedicated to its operations or special projects.

When does the Library receive its money?

The Library’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. The Library sets its levy in December of each year. The adjusted amount of the levy is distributed at various times in the following calendar year. Because funding is received from 4 different counties, the money can come in at various times of the year. That money is often intended for use in the Library’s next fiscal year, so it is retained alongside the current year’s operating budget.

What information is included on the Library's Financial Report?

The Library displays the current year’s financial reports on its website. Each financial report contains that month’s snapshot of revenues received from 4 counties, expenditures, the Library’s investments for long-term repair plans over the next several decades, and itemized invoices. The Library also posts its annual audits on the same web page.

What does the Library provide to the community with taxpayer dollars?

The Library provides all of the traditional services and materials the community expects: access to materials in all forms, programs for people of all ages, as well as meeting rooms and private study rooms. Beyond that, the Barrington Area Library strives to provide the latest and best in technology and experiences to its community and remain on the cutting edge of library services. Taxpayer dollars also keep the 60,000 square foot facility in peak condition, and fund the running of the building itself, from heating and electricity to the maintenance of 10 acres of property. The Barrington Area Library proudly serves its community and strives to act as good stewards of the resources the community provides to its mission.