Strengthening Libraries

DATE: December 14, 1999 
TO: Board of Supervisors
SUBJECT:STRENGTHENING SAN DIEGO COUNTY LIBRARIES

SUMMARY:
On February 3, 1998, this Board of Supervisors approved seeking urgency legislation which would enable San Diego County to reallocate a portion of the property tax growth to the County Library system while bringing San Diego County library spending up to the Statewide average over a three-year period. On the County's behalf, Assembly Member Susan Davis introduced legislation (AB 494), which was signed by Governor Gray Davis on October 8,1999. Today's action will adopt the necessary resolution to reallocate a portion of property tax growth over a three year period to the County Library system and schedule a Library conference to discuss allocation methods and an expenditure plan for Library revenue.

Recommendation: 
CHAIRWOMAN SLATER AND VICE-CHAIR JACOB:

1.) Adopt the resolution, as required by AB 494 (Davis), that specifies the process for allocating property tax growth to the County Library system over the next three years.

2.) Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to work with the various Friends of the Library groups and return in February of 2000 with a status report on allocation methods and an expenditure plan for the increased property tax revenue.

Fiscal Impact: 
If approved, this proposal will reallocate up to $8.5 million in property tax growth over a three year period.

BACKGROUND: 
San Diego County libraries were adversely impacted by the property tax shifts of the early 1990s. After losing approximately $1 million to the Education Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF), the library limited its hours, curtailed book purchases, and reduced staffing levels. Because of this, funding for the County Library system has been much lower than the statewide average of other California public libraries. The latest information published by the California State Library indicated that the per capita public library funding average was $18.99. The San Diego County Library system per capita funding for that same period was $8.68.

To combat this gap, on February 3, 1998, the Board of Supervisors directed the Chief Administrative Officer and County Counsel to seek urgency legislation to reallocate a portion the property tax growth.

As a result, Assembly Member Susan Davis introduced legislation (AB 494) on the County's behalf, which was signed into law by Governor Gray Davis on October 8, 1999. The legislation requires the Board of Supervisors to adopt a resolution authorizing the Auditor to transfer property tax growth dollars to the library. The attached resolution directs the Auditor to allocate a share of the County's property tax growth to the County Library system by $2.833 million in each of the 1999-2000, 2000-01, and 2001-02 fiscal years, resulting in a permanent increase in the library property tax base. Because of this legislation, it is estimated that County libraries will be at or near the statewide funding average for public libraries.

Approval of the resolution will provide a stable, long-term funding source for San Diego County libraries and provide full service libraries for patrons of all ages to enjoy.

Respectfully Submitted,

DIANNE JACOB
Supervisor, Second District

PAM SLATER 
Chairwoman