TRUSTEES IN ATTENDANCE: Burton C. Conner, Chairman, James W. Walker,
Esquire and Jonathan Ferguson, Esquire
(Judge Conner attended via speaker phone)
OTHERS IN ATTENDANCE: Nora J. Everlove, Librarian & Lynn T. Atkinson,
Mr. Ferguson made a motion to approve the May 6, 2011 Meeting Minutes as presented. Mr. Walker seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously. As Judge Conner attended the meeting by conference call he authorized Ms. Atkinson to use his signature stamp on the minutes.
II. TELEPHONIC APPEARANCE:
The Law Library now has SKYPE capabilities for conferencing. Judge Conner’s SYPE account was not working so he was unable to attend by SKYPE. There was no phone connected in the conference room so he attended by speaker phone using Ms. Atkinson’s cell phone. Discussion was had and Ms. Everlove will make sure in the future that a phone is connected and available to use for phone conferencing in the conference room. Judge Conner will advise Ms. Atkinson in advance when he will need to attend via SKYPE or conference call.
III. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS:
Ms. Everlove pointed out that there is a new account number on the May 2011 report for one of the revenue streams. The revenue stream is still the same; it just has a new name. This information was verified with Nancy Palka in County Finance.
Ms. Everlove pointed out that our income in the month of May was almost $9,000.00 lower than the month before. She inquired of Ms. Palka why such a drop and Ms. Palka commented that the Clerk didn’t collect much last month, so this is the only explanation. Some expenses were not paid in May and they are still outstanding but even if they had been we would still have broken even for the month. Even our lowest month is still keeping up with our typical monthly expenses.
Mr. Walker moved approval of the April 2011 and May 2011 Financial Statements. Mr. Ferguson seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
IV. PROPOSED BUDGET FOR 2011/2012:
Ms. Everlove presented a proposed 20111/2012 Budget even though the heading says 2010/2011. It is just mislabeled and she will make the correction as soon as practical. Mr. Walker made a comment concerning the form. It was decided that projected revenues and expenditures should balance in the proposed budget.
Mr. Ferguson pointed out that there are small increases in the proposed line item expenditures except for the line item of “Law Books.” There is a proposed increase of approximately $90,000.00 in expenditures. Ms. Everlove reported that she believes that revenues will cover much of the expenditure even with $60,000.00 in new purchases we will only be dipping into our reserves approximately ten to twenty thousand dollars at the most.
Discussion was had concerning the fact that the Law Libraries reserves may have grown to big at this time. Mr. Walker commented that when he received a copy of the current financial statement it indicated a current cash surplus of $322,000.00. He was concerned about the large cash surplus and asked Ms. Everlove to get together some information on where she feels that some of the surplus can be best expended.
Ms. Everlove reported that she feels that some of the funds need to be spent on additional evening hours to include Monday and Wednesday. Additionally she has provided for additional CLE CDs in the 2011/2012 Proposed Budget. An upgrade to a Lexus connection is proposed for the Port St. Lucie location which would cost approximately $6,000.00 more per year and the main Law Library could be updated as well which would be another $12,000.00 per year. A list of three sets of books is listed that somehow missed the update that we tried to do this year which would be another $6,000.00 per year. At the bottom of the list Ms. Everlove suggested some major new sets of books, for instance Collier’s on Bankruptcy ($7,300.00), Attorneys’ Text Book of Medicine ($5,000.00). Alternatively at Mr. Walker’s request Ms. Everlove looked into what it would cost to bring the National Reporter System up to date. It is now two years out of date. It is now cheaper to replace the National Reporter System than to bring it current. It is approximately $84,000.00 to repurchase the National Reporter System. Ms. Everlove believes we can get at least a twenty percent discount, but that still leaves us at $60,000.00 to replace them and over $50,000.00 to keep it current for the year. That brings the total to $117,000.00 at that point.
Judge Conner commented that we have a bottom floor reserve amount. Mr. Ferguson confirmed and stated that we established $120,000.00 which is now a line item titled “Reserve Account” with that amount in it. Judge Conner stated that due to the economic times no ceiling was ever established, but maybe now is the time to address that issue. Mr. Walker and Mr. Ferguson both agreed that no ceiling was ever discussed. Judge Conner stated that as a general economic principal he is afraid that we are not out of the woods in terms of an entire national economy and certainly in terms of the State’s economy number one. If we come to the consensus and agreement that we need to increase our budget by $90,000.00 this year Judge Conner is most interested and would like Mr. Ferguson to get some input from the Port St. Lucie Bar Association to what extent we should be considering increasing the level of service at the St. Lucie West Annex either by way of books, personnel, internet access or whatever. He agrees that we need to give a very serious look to increasing our evening hours. In Judge Conner’s opinion the order of hierarchy is, (1) do we need to increase the level of service at St. Lucie West, (2) do we need to increase evening hours and then (3) do we need to increase the books themselves or the electronic acquisition.
Mr. Ferguson commented that maybe it’s because the county is going through a strategic planning week that he has strategic planning on his mind. He knows that one of the proposals that the County has for their budget is to shut down all but two of their libraries and further reduce hours at the main library. His thought is that people will start using the Law Library as an internet café, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Mr. Ferguson requested that the August meeting be set for 3:00 p.m. instead of 3:30 p.m. to allow more time for brain storming of where we want the Law Library to be and to go and it would include the level of service at the St. Lucie West Annex. Mr. Ferguson likes the idea of expanding hours and feels it will serve a dual purpose. He feels that we need to put a bunch of things on the able and he agrees that we need to be cautious with what we do with our excess money. The balance sheet reflects that we have not only our $120,000.00 in reserve but then we have a balance of $320,000.00. Although there is some wiggle room he is cautious that next year the legislature may do something different with funding.
Mr. Walker commented that the comments reinforce for him the sense of gratitude that is felt over the caliber of the Board here where some extremely astute observations have been made. He is not sure that he would differ with anything that was said. He suggested that he shares Mr. Ferguson’s concern about the possibility of drawing Tallahassee’s attention, but the way he feels that would happen would be that the bigger the pot of unexpended funds grows, the bigger and more visible a target we become. Mr. Ferguson whole heartedly agreed with Mr. Walker’s thought on this matter. Mr. Walker feels that everyone is on the same page and welcomes further discussion on this matter.
Ms. Everlove asked if she could attend a meeting to address the Port St. Lucie Bar Association to help ascertain what their needs are and to do a little brainstorming with them. Mr. Ferguson stated that would be a good idea but unfortunately the next meeting is not until September. Mr. Ferguson said he would get the question out there and hopefully get some feedback and maybe that would give Ms. Everlove something to talk about since the Port St. Lucie Bar Association meetings are not always well attended.
Judge Conner inquired as to when the deadline is for getting the proposed budget done. Ms. Everlove stated that there isn’t really a deadline as we do not fit into the same mold as the County agencies, although the new fiscal year begins October 1st. Our budget is more of a map of where we are going. Judge Conner asked Mr. Ferguson to make this a topic at the September twenty first meeting of the Port St. Lucie Bar Association so that we can perhaps finalize our budget at the October Law Library meeting. Ms. Atkinson is to send out a reminder early next week about the August fifth meeting date and time (3:00 p.m.) and to remind everyone to try to attend on that date for brainstorming on the budget. Mr. Ferguson asked that Ms. Everlove come up with an agenda concerning strategic discussion points for the August meeting.
V. LIBRARY PATRON:
Ms. Everlove reported that there is a Law Library patron that although not exactly homeless uses the Law Library men’s room to clean himself. The problem is that this leaves the bathroom floor soaked. It is an awkward situation to say the least. The Central Services people have spoken to him about this and it seems to be getting better. At this point she is not asking the Board to do anything she just wanted to bring it to their attention. Mr. Ferguson asked that staff keep in the back of their minds as the County system adjusts to their new hours whether there is an increased impact on the Law Library and what that impact might be.
VI: FRIENDS OF THE LAW LIBRARY:
Mr. Walker reported that the Friends now have a research course on the books for early October. The flyers are up in the Law Library and should be distributed soon. The Friends will be circulating a newsletter periodically.
VII: AFTER-HOURS ACCESS:
Mr. Ferguson inquired as to how many attorneys that have signed up for the after-hours access cards. Ms. Everlove stated that she did not have the figures at this time but would find out and advise at the next meeting.
VIII. ANNUAL AUDIT:
Ms. Atkinson reported that it is time for the Law Library’s annual audit. Everything has been provided to Jay Gaines.
IX. SEPTEMBER MEETING DATE:
Mr. Ferguson moved to change the September meeting date to September 9, 2011 at 3:30 p.m. Mr. Walker seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously. Judge Conner may have to attend via conference call on this date.
Judge Conner asked that Mr. Walker tell the Friends of the Law Library that the Trustees deeply appreciate their support and their efforts on behalf of the Law Library.
As there was no further business to discuss the meeting was adjourned.
Approved: August , 2011.
BURTON C. CONNER, Chairman
JIM WILDER, Member
JOHNATHAN FERGUSON, Member
PAULA A. LEWIS, Member
JAMES T. WALKER, Member