“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” – Walter Cronkite
Every year businesses, organizations, and governments get their employees together to determine their annual revenue and expenses. They use data and their experiences from past years to project what might happen in the coming year and what projects or changes they might need to plan for. Most of you probably know that this process is known as budget season since every local, state, and federal government has one.
The time of the year that this planning happens varies depending on the fiscal year for each entity (fiscal year = one-year period that companies and governments use for financial reporting and budgeting), but it is a necessary and critical function. What is easily forgotten in the grand scheme of things is the importance of the public (YOU) in this process! No matter the nature of the business/organization, the budget and projects under discussion are decisions that impact customers, patrons, clients, citizens, etc.
Libraries pride themselves on being able to offer amazing free services to our patrons, but this is only possible through the funding provided mostly through local, state, and federal resources. Here in Alamance County, along with the North Carolina State government, we follow the July – June fiscal year. The Federal government follows an October – September fiscal year. This is important to know, because, typically, this means that budget season begins three to six months before the beginning of the fiscal year. Organizations begin consolidating all of the ideas, projects, and plans that have been proposed and then determine what can and can’t be included in the budget. Once those have been prioritized into a proposal, it is presented to the voting body for discussion. This is the time when public opinion can really have an impact.
Calling, emailing, and/or talking to your Representatives, Senators, Board Members, Council persons, Commissioners, Aldermen, etc. can help them understand the issues of importance to their constituents. While not everyone can get everything they ask for since North Carolina does have a balanced budget ordinance (G.S. 159-8) and there is not enough revenue to accommodate all requests, decision-makers will listen if enough people reach out. What does this mean? Find out when meetings, public hearings, etc. are taking place and show up!
Your voice and opinions matter!
Alamance County Public Libraries