RUPERT J. SMITH LAW LIBRARY OF ST. LUCIE COUNTY, INC.
March 2, 2007 Meeting Minutes
Honorable Burton C. Conner, Chairman
Trustees Attending: Honorable Burton C. Conner, and James T. Walker, Esquire, Jim Wilder, Anthony Guettler and Paula A. Lewis, County Commissioner
Trustees Absent: None
Others Attending: Nora J. Everlove, Librarian and Lynn T. Atkinson, Secretary
I. Previous Minutes:
Judge Conner asked for any corrections to the previously distributed minutes. Mr. Walker moved approval. Mr. Wilder seconded the motion and was unanimously carried.
II. Space Needs and Updated Ten-Year Plan:
Judge Conner reported that the Architect was going to prepare a revised set of plans, but he wasn’t sure that it was necessarily going to affect the Law Library. He also reported that he had not had any further conversations with the Architect concerning the Law Library. Mr. Walker commented that he sat in at the meeting that took place between the Architect and Ms. Everlove immediately following the last Trustees Meeting. He reported that it was a fairly technical discussion and the Architect indicated that the contractor that does the SmartBoard would be getting with the Law Library over the next couples of months or so. Mr. Walker reported there is quite a large range of the cost involved in the purchase of a SmartBoard . The numbers that were tossed out were somewhere between $30,000.00 and $300,000.00 depending on the system. Mr. Walker stated that the fundamental business of the Law Library is education, so in concept it is something that the Trustees could be looking at very carefully. Mr. Walker stated that the Law Library’s last ten year plan was done in 2004 and although not done that long ago he felt it was probably substantially dated now by virtue of the impending Law Library move and changes in the South County that need to be factored in, so with this in mind as a precursor to looking at the serious financial decisions of the sort represented by the SmartBoard that if might be prudent to ask Ms. Everlove to update the Ten-Year Plan.
Judge Conner asked if the cheapest price for the purchase of a SmartBoard is$30,000.00, does this cause anyone concern? Mr. Wilder stated that he felt taking his fiduciary responsibility into consideration, he feels that the SmartBoard is an extremely useful tool that has potential to grow with the Library and the technology. He feels that it is a worthwhile investment in every sense of the word and that he knows that the Friends of the Public Library help to fund just such things that the Public Library cannot fund completely in and of themselves and was wondering if the Friends of the Law Library could help fund something like this. Mr. Walker stated that it is a beautiful thought. Ms. Lewis stated that she has sat on the Public Library Board and that Friends of the Public Library is in a very different circumstance than the Friends of the Law Library. That Board has received bequests and investments over the years, so when the Friends of the Public Library are asked to help with furnishing and so forth, it is in an altogether different ball game than what Mr. Wilder is asking. Some discussion was had on the subject. Mr. Walker stated that the Friends of the Law Library has approximately $1,500.00 in the bank and if six people attend the meeting then they are doing exceptionally well. The consensus was that it would not be practical to ask the Friends of the Law Library to undertake a large fund-raising campaign.
Mr. Guettler inquired as to if there had been a presentation on the usefulness of the SmartBoard and the types of things that it we would be able to do with it, as that would weigh heavily on his mind. Judge Conner asked Ms. Everlove, other than the CLE classes, what would the SmartBoard be useful for that might have some fund raising capability to it. Ms. Everlove stated that they could do some classes in the evening on how to do legal research and they could be marketed to different segments of the population. Judge Conner stated that he thought that charge would just cover the cost of the class. Ms. Everlove replied that he is correct, they are never going to make a lot of money, but then again we are a library and that’s not our function. We’re here to provide a resource to the community. Ms. Everlove did state that she felt although it is not the Library’s responsibility to provide the resources, she felt that others within the courthouse who might find this facility useful.
Ms. Lewis stated that she seemed to remember that the Law Library provided a service free of charge to individuals where some attorneys gave their time to answer questions after the hurricanes. Mr. Everlove stated that, yes and that one of the attorneys that gained some business from that and in turn, he made about $2,000.00 in donations to the Law Library.
Mr. Walker stated that he felt a new Ten-Year Plan is necessary to ascertain what funds are needed for things, such as a sense of what sort of facility we’ll be wanting to plan for in the South County, the expense of extending the Law Library hours and a figure for an emergency cushion. With these figures in mind, then the Trustees have a better feel for how much is available to be expended on something such as a SmartBoard and other major spending issues. Judge Conner asked what kind of a time parameter was to be put on Ms. Everlove for this Ten-Year Plan. Mr. Walker deferred to Ms. Everlove as to a time frame. Ms. Everlove agreed that it needs to be done, not only to ascertain what can comfortably be spent on the SmartBoard, but for shelving expenses as well. Ms. Everlove stated that the figure that she could wheedle out of the Lundia representative is somewhere between $50,000.00 and $75,000.00 for the additional shelving for the new facility. Ms. Everlove stated that the difference would hinge on how many of the old shelves can be used and if the Sheriff will allow the use of trustees to help with the move of the shelves. Judge Conner stated that he was fairly confident that the Sheriff would have a problem with allowing the use of the trustees.
Judge Conner asked how long it would take Ms. Everlove to prepare a new Ten-Year Plan. Ms. Everlove stated that she would have a draft distributed to the Trustees by April 13. The plan will encompass 2007 - 2017. Ms. Everlove asked if she could bill the Law Library over and above her normal fee to prepare this plan? Mr. Walker made a motion that the Librarian is requested to prepare an updated Ten-Year Plan on or before April 13 and that she be compensated over and above the normal fee at the rate of $35.00 per hour. Ms. Lewis seconded the motion and it was carried.
Mr. Wilder advised that he will not be able to attend the May Trustees Meeting, but the SmartBoard is very important and he would like it tabled until the June Meeting. Ms. Everlove stated that she would make some initial inquiries as to what the lead time would be on ordering and installation of a SmartBoard and if it seems like that month is critical then we can act accordingly and if it is not critical then we can let it go to June.
It was decided that the Ten Year Plan and the SmartBoard would be discussed at the May Meeting with whatever information is available at the time. Judge Conner asked if anyone felt any further discussion was needed concerning the options of how the Library will be using the SmartBoard and to whom we will cater or market or anything like that or should it be that the price is looked at before we go further in those discussions. He asked the Trustees if anyone had any particular target information that they want Ms. Everlove to look into and present to the Board.
Mr. Guettler stated that he felt that the most important thing is the usefulness of the SmartBoard. Judge Conner asked if Ms. Everlove needed any further direction from the Board on the Ten-Year Plan or the SmartBoard. Ms. Everlove stated that she didn’t think so and that she felt that she understands her assignment.
Judge Conner asked Ms. Everlove if she had any additional information on space needs at this time. Mr. Everlove replied that she did not have anything further to report at this time.
Judge Conner asked Ms. Everlove if she was confident that the old shelves would be able to be used in the new space. Ms. Everlove stated that, yes, the good news after meeting with the Lundia representative is that they can be used, even though the shelves will have to be reconfigured and the ramps will have to be rebuilt.
Mr. Walker made a motion that a request should be made to the County for funding assistance for the cost of new shelving occasioned by the move that is made necessary because of the County space needs. Mr. Wilder seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously. Ms. Everlove reported that the cost would be $50,000.00 to $75,000.00 and she would be able to get a closer cost estimate before making the budget request.
Ms. Lewis asked what the Law Library’s reserve is. Judge Conner advised that as of January 1, 2007 the Law Library’s reserve amount is $276,737.00. Ms. Lewis stated that she felt it was her responsibility to advise the Trustees that due to budget constraints and the amount of the Law Library’s reserves, the County may not be inclined to help fund the shelves. Further discussion was had as to the funding request for the shelves. Ms. Everlove reported that she might be able to get the Lundia representative to separate the cost of the new shelving and the actual cost of the moving of the shelving and perhaps it would be better presented to the County in this fashion. Mr. Walker amended his motion to state that the County should be requested to fund the move of the existing shelving. The amended motion was carried unanimously.
Judge Conner asked if Ms. Everlove needed any direction from the Trustees concerning the carrels for the new Law Library. Ms. Everlove stated that she felt she could handle the carrel without any further direction for the Trustees. Mr. Walker stated that the carrels come under the heading of furniture and that he and Ms. Everlove had that conversation with the Architect.
III. Financial Statement:
Ms. Lewis stated that she felt that a decision needed to be made about how much of a cushion the Trustees were comfortable with. Ms. Everlove stated that she felt that it should be a percentage of an annual budget that should be held in reserve. She proposed that she prepare a memo to the Trustees discussing different ways to look at this and then the Trustees could make an informed decision.
Mr. Guettler asked if that would mean that the Trustees would want to keep a lower amount of cash on hand after seeing what a comfortable cushion would be. Some discussion was had on this matter.
Mr. Wilder asked about the January expenditures as they were over the revenues. Ms. Everlove stated that it appeared that it appeared the revenues were down as opposed to the expenditures being up. Mr. Walker stated that the sense that he gets in terms of the overall picture is that the fund continues to grow, although at a much slower rate than it used to. Ms. Everlove agreed and stated that historically the Law Library has had these peaks and valleys as well. The filing fees were raised twice during Ms. Everlove’s history with the Law Library and in the beginning of each cycle, the reserve would be built up and then eventually the expenditures would outstrip the current filing fees. The fund would then start to go down and a couple of times the reserve has been below a hundred thousand dollars. Ms. Everlove stated that she feels that the funds should continue to grow. Mr. Wilder made a motion to approve the current financial statement. Mr. Walker seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
IV. Law Week Reception:
Mr. Walker informed Judge Conner that Judge May would be attending the Law Week Reception and that he would try to get information to Judge Conner concerning Judge May.
Ms. Everlove reported that the Law Library is on the Florida Bar CLE schedule in a big way. There was a little gap after March and between May and Ms. Everlove called the Bar and they gave her two seminars. After asking for June and July dates, Fort Pierce is now on the calendar for the rest of the year. Local practitioners will now have every option that an attorney practicing in a major metropolitan area will have.
As no further discussion was to be had, the meeting was adjourned.
Dated: June _____________________, 2007
Burton C. Conner, Chairman
James T. Walker, Member
Jim Wilder, Member
Paula A. Lewis
Anthony P. Guettler, Member