RUPERT J. SMITH LAW LIBRARY OF ST. LUCIE COUNTY, INC.
October, 2008 at 1:30 p.m.
Honorable Burton C. Conner, Chairman
Trustees Attending: Honorable Burton C. Conner, James T. Walker, Esq., Paula A. Lewis County Commissioner (joined the meeting late), and Johnathan Ferguson, Esq.
Others Attending: Nora J. Everlove, Librarian and Lynn T. Atkinson, Secretary
I. Previous Minutes:
Mr. Wilder made a motion to accept the minutes from the previous meeting as presented, Mr. Walker seconded the motions was carried unanimously.
II. Financial Reports:
Financial reports for the months of July, August and September, 2008 were received by e-mail. The July reports were approved at the previous month’s meeting, so the financial reports on the table were the August and September 2008 minutes. Mr. Wilder questioned the fact that there were no revenues from the clerk’s fees for the September financial reports. Ms. Atkinson stated that this is the September-October lull in the reports that occurs at the end of every fiscal year. Judge Conner asked if the issue with making sure that the ORG. that needed to be zeroed out at the end of the fiscal had been taken care of. Ms. Atkinson reported that she and Sophia Holt from the Office of Management and Budget had been in touch several times to make sure that the ORG. came as close to a zero balance as possible so that the funds did not revert to the Court Facilities Fund as per statute.
Mr. Ferguson stated that it appeared to him that our twelve month expenses exceeded our revenues. Ms. Everlove stated that this is correct, some of the expense is shelving and some of the expense was the approximate $35,000.00 that reverted to Court Facilities and showed up on this year’s financial reports. She also stated that we would see more revenues come in under the clerk’s fee collections. Mr. Ferguson stated that he kind of discounted October as balancing out due to the end of the end of the fiscal year. Ms. Everlove stated that he is correct. There will be about a month and a half of revenue that will show up on the next reports along with about a month of expenses. The numbers aren’t off quite as much as they look. The deposit on the shelving was about $20,500.00 and then $35,000.00 that reverted to the Court Facilities Fund and this is approximately $55,500.00 of the excess expenses. These were no reoccurring expenditures. Ms. Everlove stated that there will be expenses in next year’s budget due to the purchase of the shelving as the $20,500.00 was only a deposit. She feels that the cost of the shelving is a moving target we cope with the drop ceiling in the new library. Judge Conner asked what Ms. Everlove’s best estimate would be for the total cost of shelving. She reported that originally is was $125,000.00. Ms. Everlove said that if she had to pick a figure for the total amount should guess that it would now be $140,000.00, which means that we would still owe about $120,000.00 for the shelving. Even though she had been in touch with the shelving man he is hesitant to give a final figure until the plans are finalized.
Ms. Everlove said that in order to save some money she would like to use to the carrels that are in the existing library. Although the laminate does not match the new décor she feels that it would be less expensive to re-laminate the existing carrels and drilling holes for wiring versus purchasing or building new ones.
Mr. Wilder asked how much lead time is the shelving man going to need after the plan is finalized. She reported that he would need a couple of months. Judge Conner stated that we needed to finish up on the financials and then discuss the space needs.
Ms. Everlove stated that she felt that the cost of the audit is staggering. Mr. Wilder stated that it is very reasonable compared to the cost of other audits that he has seen. Ms. Atkinson stated that the increase in the cost of the audit for this year was nominal when compared to the cost for last year.
Mr. Ferguson stated that the standards have been changing and increasing over the last three years. Every government entity that he represents has had their audit increase significantly.
Ms. Everlove stated that she made several phone calls concerning the cost of audits. She called Hillsborough County and they pay nothing. They are audited as part of the county. Mr. Walker stated that they may not be an independent special district. Ms. Everlove said that she verified that they are a special district and that originally the special district people in Tallahassee originally told the Hillsborough County Law Library that they could not do this, but then they said, okay. Mr. Walker stated that he thought a lot of that depends on whether or not it is a dependent or independent district.
Mr. Ferguson explained that there are chartered and unchartered counties. St. Lucie County is an unchartered county and operates per its home rule powers under the constitution and whatever statutory authorities. There are some counties such as Dade and Broward Counties which are charter counties that have their own constitution that sets out their powers and they will change a lot of things and set up different relationships with constitutional officers with special districts whether they are dependent or independent. We are an independent district which means neither the City nor County has any authority over the operation, the appointment of folks or the budgeting. Mr. Ferguson stated that his guess is that the law library in Hillsborough County may be a dependent in that they get their funding or the majority of their funding from one of their local governments, their members are appointed by one of their local governments or somehow they are wrapped into the Hillsborough County Charter.
Further discussion was had concerning this matter. Ms. Everlove volunteered to check with the county to see if the law library can follow under the umbrella of the county’s audit. Mr. Walker stated that he felt that the discussion concerning the audit should be tabled until such time as Ms. Everlove checks with the county to see if law library can come under the county’s audit instead of paying for a separate audit.
Ms. Everlove reported concerning the $700.00 that seems to float from one account to another that was questioned at the last meeting. The $700.00 is the payment for Ms. Atkinson’s services. At the end of the month Ms. Atkinson submits her bill and it shows as a separate item because although finance has the bill it had not yet been paid. Then when the $700.00 is paid the next month it moves to another account.
Mr. Walker stated that in looking at the operating cash accounts he saw that in September of last year the balance was roughly $250,000.00 and this year it ended up at roughly $220,000.00 for a net reduction. But during the course of that twelve month period we had approximately $60,000.00 of nonrecurring expense. Mr. Walker stated that tells him that our income was running approximately $30,000.00 ahead of our occurring expenses, which he feels that fundamentally that the financial condition for the library is healthy.
Mr. Ferguson made a motion to approve the financial reports. Mr. Wilder seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
III. Space Needs/Move:
Judge Conner stated that he has nothing to report concerning the move date or space needs. Ms. Everlove stated that she is in contact with the architect. Ms. Everlove reported that the ceiling height issue has now been resolved. Our bookcases will not be as tall as they are now, but they will still have seven openings. She is satisfied with the outcome of the shelving. Judge Conner asked what information Ms. Everlove feels is necessary for the final decision concerning the shelving. Ms. Everlove stated that she needs a total. She’s looked at the plans and she’s done a total, but she wants the architect to confirm her totals (lineal feet/footprint). Ms. Everlove explained that she wants to keep the front of the library as open as she can. This will result in less money upfront and it will result in a more comfortable working atmosphere. She feels that they are minutes away from being finalized. The architect wants her to sign off on the plans.
Mr. Walker asked if Ms. Everlove had signed off on the conference room plans. Ms. Everlove stated that she has not been given those plans to sign off on. She will ask them for those plans as they were discussing changes concerning the Smartboard and the outlet placement.
Judge Conner told Ms. Everlove that he feels that she needs to maintain close contact with Roger Shinn and the architect to try to get a target date for this move so that the shelving can be ordered and delivered on time. Ms. Everlove stated that she had made three calls to Mr. Shinn, but has had not return calls. She will call Mr. Shinn again concerning the move in date.
Ms. Lewis stated that even though she doesn’t know how this may play into things, it is her understanding that they might do some more of the building infrastructure over at the new building. Even though the other two floors are not going to be completed at this time, they are talking about doing some of the interior sourcing now rather than stopping and starting up altogether again. This would make the redo easier. Ms. Lewis stated that this may give us a little more wiggle room for the move-in date.
Keyless Entry: Ms. Everlove reported that we could have about three hundred plus users for about $800.00. It would be a deadbolt system with a key override, using your fingerprint. If we only had fifty users it would be as little as $190.00. This is a one-time fee. The administrator has a special code that will log in each individual. Once you are in the system then you are in.
Judge Conner asked that Ms. Everlove order at least three brochures concerning this system. One brochure for the Chief Judge, one for Lieutenant Hardy, Court Security and one for the Trustees. Hopefully we will be able to persuade Court Security and the Chief Judge that this is a good way to go for after hour entry and security.
Mr. Walker asked how the data on usage is recorded. Ms. Everlove and Mr. Wilder both stated that the high-end systems do allow for recording of usage. Ms. Everlove reported that the most expensive system was about $799.00.
Ms. Lewis asked if the system is capable of adding and deleting individuals. Mr. Wilder stated that the Administrator has these capabilities.
Judge Conner asked if Indian River County charges an annual fee to the attorney for the use of the keyless entry system. Mr. Walker stated that he knew that there was some kind of arrangement but he isn’t sure exactly what it is. Ms. Everlove said she would make a phone call and find out.
Ms. Lewis reported that she recently attended the Florida Association of Counties Preliminary Legislative Meeting. She said that there seems to be and she is not sure where it’s coming from, but there was some discussion about changing the funding parameters. She explained again that she is not sure where this is coming from, but she will check into it. There was also some discussion about no longer requiring the counties to be responsible for the law libraries. Ms. Everlove said that although St. Lucie County is not responsible for the law library, there are libraries that are mostly funded by the county. Ms. Lewis stated that she was aware of that, but she is talking about a State requirement.
Mr. Walker stated that although he has not looked at it in a long time, there is some language that can be construed as requiring the county to provide space for the law library. He feels that is probably what they were talking about.
Judge Conner stated that he would not be surprised if there’s not some serious discussion about changing the formula from 25% to maybe cutting us down to maybe 12/5 % and taking that other 12.5 % and giving it one of the other entities or someone else. There may be other competitors for that pot. Mr. Walker stated that if this is taking place then we need to be there.
V. Annual Conference:
Mr. Walker asked if Mr. Wilder is going to attend the annual Conference of Law Libraries. Mr. Wilder asked Ms. Everlove is his paperwork had been sent in. Ms. Everlove asked if he had spoken to Kathy in her office. He said that he had e-mailed Kathy and that she was going to get with Ms. Everlove. Ms. Everlove said that she would call Kathy and check into it. Mr. Wilder stated that he would not be able to attend the Saturday organizational meeting, but would attend the rest of the meeting. Mr. Wilder asked that if anyone has anything in particular that they feel he should look at or listen for at the meeting to please let Ms. Atkinson know.
VI. Financial Report Fiscal Year Ending September 2007
Mr. Walker questioned the language in paragraph 2, of on page 25 of the Annual Financial Report, September 2007 which states, “Rupert J. Smith Law Library of St. Lucie County has not met one or more of the conditions described in Section 218.503(1), Florida Statutes.” Mr. Ferguson questioned the language in paragraph 4 on page 25 of the Management Letter that refers to the Tree Island Estates Community Development District and not the Rupert J. Smith Law Library of St. Lucie County. Ms. Atkinson apologized, but said that she did not hear this in the recording of the previous minutes. She will contact Jay Gaines at Berger, Toombs, et al and report back to the Trustees concerning the above.
VII. Website (rjslawlibrary.org) :
Mr. Walker asked for Ms. Everlove’s report concerning the hits on the Law Library website. Ms. Everlove reported that we are averaging around 350 hits per month and that is up roughly 30% from last year. Of the 350 hits roughly one eighth of those people were actually looking for the Law Library website and not other sites. Of these hits the individuals average two clicks after arriving at the website. There are a lot of searches for local and administrative orders for St. Lucie County.
Mr. Ferguson advised that the Nineteenth Circuit has its own website as well which lists judicial procedures. Website: www.circuit19.org. It was suggested that Ms. Everlove cross-link the two website. Ms. Everlove advised that it is clear that our book catalogue has been searched from afar. The numbers are going up. Mr. Wilder stated that it is a good site and from his perspective as a layman it is a user friendly site.
Judge Conner suggested that Ms. Everlove contact the local bar associations to see if they would like to link to our website and for us to link to their websites. Mr. Wilder stated that we are linked with COSA as well. Mr. Walker suggested a link to the Indian River County Law Library as well. Mr. Wilder also suggested that the site be linked with the St. Lucie County Public Library.
VIII. Friends of the Rupert J. Smith Law Library:
Mr. Walker reported that the Friends met yesterday. The treasurer’s report indicated that it has about $3,300.00. The Friends is going to be planning a very nice reception for the Law Library after its move to introduce the community to the new facility and it will be sponsoring its usually Law Week function as well. Although the Friends probably has sufficient funds for these two functions, it is always looking for more money. At a round table it was discussed the idea that the conference rooms and the carousels might be possible grant opportunities where someone could make a donation to the Friends and in exchange have a plaque put on the carousel or over the conference room door. Mr. Ferguson said that his only concern is whether or not the County would care as it is a county building. Judge Conner said that he would defer to Ms. Lewis on this matter, but felt that it we were going to pursue this form of fund raising that we contact the county to make sure that they have no objection. Ms. Lewis stated that there is a precedent for this type of fund raising in the purchase of brick stones for the Public Library. Mr. Wilder feels that as a courtesy that the County should be contacted, but the Friends of the Library do this as a fund raiser and that the high-end donors are given plaques in the Public Library as well. Mr. Ferguson asked if there was any discussion as to how it would work. Mr. Walker stated that the discussion never got beyond the broad concept level.
Further discussion was had concerning how this process would work. As there were no objections to the fund raising concept Mr. Walker was asked to have the Friends of the Law Library prepare a more specific concept and then they can bring it to the Trustees for approval.
Mr. Wilder reported that attendance is up. We have had 2, 671 distinct visits to the Law Library from January through September of this year. Last year’s total was 2,867 visits, which means we need one hundred and ninety-six more visits to equal last year’s total. It shows that we are getting a lot more usage of the facility. Mr. Wilder stated that we need to keep these figures in mind when people start talking about cutting funding to the Law Library.
VI. St. Lucie West Branch:
Mr. Ferguson reported that at the last Port St. Lucie Bar Association meeting he inquired if there were any concerns about the St. Lucie West branch of the Law Library. No one expressed any concerns, although Mr. Ferguson did say that the meeting was not well attended. He will make it a habit to ask at future meetings as well. Ms. Everlove asked Mr. Ferguson to advise her of the Port St. Lucie Bar Association meetings so that she can attend on occasion.
VII. Speaking Engagements:
Mr. Walker asked if there had been anymore speaking engagements this month. Ms. Everlove replied that there had not, but stated that at the Friends meeting they discussed having an outreach program where we have a speaker the Public Library, perhaps someone from the Bar speaking about a specific topic, mortgage foreclosure would probably be the most popular topic at this time. In terms of another outreach program instead of asking people to come to our library as they may not be familiar with its location, have them go to the Public Library. Mr. Wilder volunteered to coordinate this with the Public Library. Mr. Walker stated that he is not sure that the Friends of the Law Library is completely sold on the idea of having Law Library functions in the Public Library. Mr. Wilder stated that he sees this as a very positive integration between the two libraries.
Ms. Everlove reported that next resource course is November sixth and November thirteenth, between five and seven p.m. Mr. Walker will be teaching the class.
Judge Conner announced that the St. Lucie County Bar Association is conducting a foreclosure seminar. He stated that he thought it would be a good idea if we had someone attend the seminar as well and give a short presentation. Ms. Atkinson will e-mail the information for Luke Napodano, Appellate Staff Attorney to Ms. Everlove.
As no further discussion was to be had, the meeting was adjourned.
Dated: October ______, 2008
Burton C. Conner, Chairman
James T. Walker, Trustee
Jim Wilder, Member, Trustee
Paula A. Lewis, Trustee
Johnathan Ferguson, Esq. Trustee