RUPERT J. SMITH LAW LIBRARY OF ST. LUCIE COUNTY, INC.
July 11, 2008 at 3:30 p.m.
Honorable Burton C. Conner, Chairman
Trustees Attending: Honorable Burton C. Conner, James T. Walker, Esq., Paula A. Lewis, County Commissioner and Sharifa Jarrett, Esq.
Absentees: Jim Wilder
Others Attending: Nora J. Everlove, Librarian and Lynn T. Atkinson, Secretary
I. Previous Minutes:
Mr. Walker made a motion to approve the June 2008 minutes as presented. Ms. Lewis seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously. The May 2008 Minutes as approved at the previous meeting were signed by the Trustees.
II. Financial Statements:
Ms. Atkinson informed the Trustees that the updated Financial Statements for October 2007 through March 2008 as discussed at the previous meeting and distributed in a packet to everyone needed to be approved. Nancy Palka from County Finance updated the April 2008 Financial Statements and e-mailed to everyone, so those Statements needed approval as well. Mr. Walker made a motion to approve the October 2007 through April 2008 Financial Statements as updated and revised. Ms. Lewis seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
Ms. Everlove reported that although we have the May 2008 Financial Statements they are incomplete due to the fact that they do not reflect the Courtesy Account deposit(s). She further reported that in the revenues we had a very good May and this may have been our best month so far, $29,000.00. Ms. Everlove stated that she called Mr. Fry to see if this is something we can look forward to every month. Mr. Fry said we had a good quarter as they had made a concerted effort to collect funds that were owed and as they described it, “they shook the fruit the lowest limb, but it’s just going to get harder from here on out.”
Ms. Everlove stated that we’re having a nice little blip here of extra money and our revenues are pretty much keeping up with our typical expenses. Mr. Walker asked if this is true of the long term. Ms. Everlove replied, no. She then handed out the budget proposal/breakdown for next year.
Ms. Everlove: Alright, um, on the first page I’ve got our estimated revenues and it shows – it’s just the overview to give you, um, um, what I think the remainder of the year – let me start off with this column, uh, the first row. As of October first two thousand and seven our balance in the account is $249,000.00, roughly a quarter of a million dollars. And through May our revenues were $161,000.00, uh, which we just reviewed on the May sheet. And our expenditures were $203,000.00, which we just saw on the May sheet. If we prorate this amount through September, now to get to the – alright, we have $270,000.00 in revenues, now our expenditures will be $420,000.00, which let me explain how I got that number. Now I took our average monthly expense which is $203,000.00 minus the $20,000.00 for shelving and the $35,000.00 that we had to give back. We came up with a figure of around $200,000.00. Then I multiplied that – I truly prorated that figure to get what I think our books and our salaries and what our normal expenses would be, I added back in the $20,000.00 we’ve already spent for shelving and the $100,000.00 we still have yet to spend for shelving, plus the $35,000.00 we had to give back in the audit. That’s why the $420,000.00 figure is so high, because obviously it’s not just a matter of taking the next five months, you know and coming up with it, so at the end of this fiscal year we could have as little as $75,000.00 left in the bank.
I’m sorry to back up here, on the prorated revenues through September 2007 I did not, I counted May and June as typical months, because it is a blip. I backed out the extra, probably $10,000.00 and then put the $10,000.00 back in. I didn’t multiply that to make it $20,000.00 for the whole year. Does that make sense? I didn’t want to assume we would have another blip before the end of the year, another two good months. So we might actually get $280,000.00. But this is a very conservative budget. I’d rather we all be pleasantly surprised at the end of the fiscal year rather than shocked and dismayed.
The last row, the estimates for 2008/2009, because our income has been dwindling a little bit, I actually show that we’re going to make less money this next year than we did – than I think we will this year, because with the exception of the last couple of months we’ve seen that our income has been going down a thousand or so every month.
Now again, the expenditures have gone back down to what is normal because we paid for our shelving, we’ve paid for our Smart Board out of this year’s budget (the shelving and Smart Board will have been paid out of the current year’s budget.) There’s still about a $35,000.00 difference which really would hit our radar except that we were down to less than $80,000.00 to begin with, so I think it’s possible to end the Fiscal Year 2009 with between $40,000.00 and $45,000.00. Honestly, I think it will be a little more, but it could be as low as this. And again, I would rather present the picture grayer than brighter. This is with a 12% increase in our book budget.
Further discussion was had on this matter. Ms. Everlove reported that in a typical year our expenses are within $3,000.00 of our revenues. She thinks that we are typically spending between $30,000.00 and $40,000.00 more than what we bring in annually. That is with declining revenues and escalating expenses. Ms. Everlove stated that if you look at the estimates for 2008/2009 you will see that there is about a $35,000.00 difference in our revenues versus our expenditures and this would be a typical year.
Ms. Everlove advised that she thinks that we will finish next year better than what she is predicting, but she would rather see us come in with $20,000.00 more than $20,000.00 less. Judge Conner stated that he absolutely agreed that we do want to be conservative, but it also raises a concern that if at the end of this tear we are going to be at $78,000.00 and then at the end of 2009 we are going to be at $42,000.00 and then we go another year, we are basically down to $10,000.00 and if this trend continues then we will need to come up with a way to reduce expenses. Ms. Everlove agreed with Judge Conner and stated that we need to monitor this very closely and certainly no later than the beginning of the next fiscal year if we are on track with this, she thinks we need to look at it. She doesn’t necessarily think we have to go through an austerity budget, but if revenue continues to go down and expenses continue to go up, then we need to address it. She thinks that to a certain extent we can take a wait and see attitude for three months and just see how we get through the move. If there are any other surprises in the move we will need to act immediately.
Ms. Everlove: On the second page of the proposed budget you have the estimated revenues and outgos [sic]. On the second page I break down the expenses and that might answer some of the questions. I think the $20,000.00 for the deposit on the shelving came out of the Building Maintenance account, which is 5461-000, so you can see the rest of that contract amount in there and I’m only allowing $5,000.00 for next year. But I can’t imagine what else we could possibly buy. Our telephones have gone way up. I don’t really understand that and I need to look into it, but they are probably double what they were last year.
Mr. Walker inquired as to the $906.00 for travel. Ms. Everlove stated that she was not sure what it all was and asked Ms. Atkinson about it. Ms. Everlove reported that she the travel is separate from contract services. Ms. Everlove asked about an odd amount in May, $229.00 in November. She stated that she did not know what that was along with the $300.00 in March. Ms. Atkinson reported that sometimes Ms. Everlove’s office doesn’t always submit the travel requests each month, some months there is no request and then some months contain a request for several months of travel reimbursement. Ms. Atkinson stated that although she did not know off hand what the $229.00 was for in November, she would imagine that it was for travel reimbursement for Ms. Everlove’s attendance at the Library Conference. Ms. Everlove stated that would be the right time of the year for it.
Mr. Walker inquired if there was any interest in budgeting for one or more of the Trustees to attend a library conference. Ms. Everlove stated that she thought it would be great if there were funds for one of the Trustees to go to the annual national conference. Mr. Walker stated that he wasn’t thinking so much of the national conference, but he could see where it would be advantageous for one of the Trustees to attend the Florida conference. Ms. Everlove reported that she believed it will be in Miami this year.
Mr. Walker stated that he doesn’t know that annual attendance is an absolute necessity, but that when we had the last budget crisis and we were anticipating zero income he went to the state conference to get ideas and came back with all sorts of contacts, strategies and whatnot. He found attendance that year to be extremely useful. Judge Conner stated that he thought Mr. Walker should go. Mr. Walker stated that he was not making a case for himself in fact he was thinking that perhaps Ms. Jarrett would like to attend. Ms. Everlove stated that just to put a dollar value on it, you would have to really work at it to spend $500.00. Ms. Lewis asked how long the conference lasts. Ms. Everlove replied that the meetings really run all day Friday. There is an open house on Thursday night and a business meeting on Saturday morning. The consensus was that Ms. Everlove add $500.00 into the 21008/2009 budget for attendance by one of the trustees as the Florida conference.
Judge Conner asked if there were any further amendments to the proposed 2008/2008 Budget and if not was there a motion to approve. Mr. Walker made a motion to approve, the motion was seconded and it was carried unanimously. Judge Conner reported that he had nothing further to put on the table.
III. Friends of the Rupert J. Smith Law Library:
Mr. Walker reported that a plan to promote the Law Library has been tentatively approved in concept and the core of this plan involves two components. It would involve a promotional budget of $2,500.00 and the Friends is to dedicate itself to raising that money through advertising revenue and donations. He feels that this is a very feasible goal and then a public relations firm will then assist the Friends in getting out ads and public announcements and that sort of thing to get the name of the Library out there to the public and make the public aware of the resources and how the Library can assist people with their daily legal problems. It is a bit conceptual at this point because the Friends want to perfect 501(3) status which would permit donations to be tax deductible. Mr. Paxton and Mr. Walker are working on getting that application out. There had been some concerns about the Friends’ by-laws, but since the last Friends’ meeting documentation has been located that Mr. Walker feels will get them past that concern.
IV. Law Library Move:
Mr. Walker asked if Judge Conner had any further updates on the schedule of the Law Library’s move. Judge Conner reported that all he knew was that the projected completion date was still January of next year with a possible move date of February of next year. He suggested that Ms. Lewis may have more information on that. Ms. Everlove stated that she had spoken with Mr. Drittenbaus today and he said October or November. Ms. Lewis reported that the last she’d heard was December and that was from Roger Shinn. She further reported that they were still proceeding on schedule and that there was no change in the budgeting for that project. Mr. Walker stated that the Friends would put together a very nice reception to introduce everyone to the Law Library’s new home.
V. St. Lucie West Branch:
Ms. Jarrett stated that she wanted to follow up on the accessibility to St. Lucie West Branch of the Law Library as addressed at the last meeting. Ms. Everlove stated that she had spoken to Roger Shinn to ask if the lock on the door could be removed. Mr. Shinn stated that he is hesitant to remove the lock until Judge Walsh is approached about this matter.
There was discussion that this had been an issue in the past and that it was everyone’s understanding was that it was no longer an issue. If this was still a problem for Judge Walsh, then perhaps Mr. Shinn could devise a way to cover the doorway that goes into Judge Walsh’s office with drywall or whatever is appropriate and sound proof it. Judge Conner asked if the Law Library would be willing to absorb this cost if necessary. Ms. Everlove is to get a quote from Mr. Shinn to see what it would cost. Ms. Jarrett stated that she felt we would absorb the cost if necessary because it is important to provided access to the Library. Mr. Walker stated that in concept certainly, but we need to know how much and we are going to need to approach the county to see if the county recognizes its obligation in that regard and then we need to revisit this matter.
Judge Conner stated that he felt that one of the Trustees should make the approach on this matter. Judge Conner volunteered to check into this matter. Ms. Atkinson said that she would be happy to test the water with Judge Wash’s Judicial Assistant to see if Judge Walsh had a problem with having the lock removed. Ms. Atkinson also inquired about the dummy camera. It was previously agreed that the Law Library would foot the bill for the dummy camera.
Ms. Jarrett stated that her last concern was that people working at the courthouse were telling people that the Law Library was closed because there was not a librarian on duty. Ms. Lewis stated that when the “locked door,” issue was taken care of to let her know and that she would pass the information along through her lines that the Law Library is open for business despite being unstaffed. In addition it was discussed that this information should be passed along to the Clerk’s Office, Court Security and Court Administration as well.
Ms. Everlove stated that she had obtained a quote for a copier that can network with the computer. She reported that we make approximately 1000 copies per month but we only collect revenues on about 600 or 700 of the copies, if that, due to various reasons. One of the main concerns is the copies made on the computer printer. She feels that these are not all being reported and collected for. The new printer would be networked and would be operated by an assigned keypunch number. This would help with the fact that people owe money for months and the difficulty with collecting these monies. The printer would be a scanner as well. You will be able to scan and e-mail copies to your office as well. Ms. Everlove reported that we will keep the coin operated copier. The new copier will have two paper drawers and has a capacity of holding up to 600 sheets of paper. Judge Conner asked about book copies and it was discussed about the difficulties of making book copies. Ms. Everlove stated that it was just easier to print the cases from the internet.
Ms. Jarrett inquired if we would have a machine where people can purchase the cards and reload the cards. Ms. Everlove said that she had inquired about that, but this was cheaper than what you would see at a university. Ms. Everlove apologized if she had mentioned a card system as this is actually a keypunch access code system. An attorney would come in, open an account, give a deposit and would be given an access code.
Ms. Everlove reported on the cost of the copier options and discussion was had on the different options. Mr. Walker made a motion to approve the expenditure of $4,450.00 for the purchase of the CopyStar CS2550 with a service contract of $82.50 per quarter. Ms. Lewis seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
VII. Plans/Lighting for New Law Library Space:
Ms. Everlove showed the plans that she has. She reported on the lighting plan for the new space. Ms. Everlove reported that Judge Conner’s concerns about the lighting for the new space are well founded. There is not enough lighting and what is there is not turned properly. Mr. Drittenbaus agreed and he is going to go back and look at the lighting. Ms. Everlove stated that Mr. Drittenbaus told her that there is enough of the structure in place so that the shelving man can go back in and take measurements to make sure that everything is as it should be.
Judge Conner expressed concern that we have adequate IT wiring. Ms. Everlove stated that they discussed security and the outlets and wiring, but she could not remember if she had asked specifically about the IT wiring. She will call Mr. Drittenbaus concerning that. Additionally Judge Conner wanted to make sure that we have sufficient wiring for a sound system for classes and seminars. Mr. Walker asked what the number of projected IT stations is. Ms. Everlove stated that we have the capacity for six. Mr. Walker asked how many initially and Ms. Everlove stated four. We will need new computers, nothing huge and powerful because we are not dealing with graphics, but our computers are beginning to look at little dated.
Ms. Everlove reported that there is no panic button, “alert button” on the plans and Mr. Drittenbaus is going back to add that to the plans. Mr. Drittenbaus explained the security to Ms. Everlove. There will be a card reader at two points, so whoever is issued a card can swipe and get access at these points. Ms. Everlove showed the public access on the plans. There were some concerns about the public access point and the evening hours. Judge Conner stated that he needs to talk to Doug Hardy about this matter. At this point everyone will have to access through the secure entrance point. Mr. Walker stated that Indian River County is using a thumbprint access system to access the Law Library. Judge Conner said that he will float that by Lt. Hardy and the Chief Judge.
Annual Audit: Ms. Atkinson reported that the audit agreement letter for Berger, Toombs, et al was signed on June 24, 2008 and mailed on June 25, 2008. The audit will be for the fiscal year ending September 2007.
Flood Insurance: Ms. Atkinson advised that it is time to renew the flood insurance. Mr. Walker made a motion that the purchase of flood insurance be authorized in the amount of $1884.00 for Building Content Coverage of $289,400.00, if that includes electronics, if not, then in the alternative the sum of $1,828.00 for Building Content Coverage of $275,000.00. Ms. Jarrett seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
September 12, 2008 meeting: Rescheduled from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
As no further discussion was to be had, the meeting was adjourned.
Dated: August ______, 2008
Burton C. Conner, Chairman
James T. Walker, Trustee
Jim Wilder, Member, Trustee
Paula A. Lewis, Trustee
Sharifa Jarrett, Trustee