Library funds freed

Published 11:20 am Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously March 12 to dissolve the county-and-town-controlled Library Trust Fund and to transfer the money to the Central Virginia Regional Library (CVRL).

Jim Wilck

Prior to the vote, which took place at the board’s regular monthly meeting, Farmville 701 District Supervisor and Board Chairman Jim Wilck shared the background on the library and the trust fund.

“When the library was set up, they owned the building that was supposed to be sold and the proceeds would go into the new building,” he said. “Well, it took a lot longer than that to sell it, and the new building had already been financed and built and so forth, so the funds belong to the library. It was nothing we came up with. It was donations by a lot of people, and there has been a committee set up that involves the library, the town and the county. And whenever the library needs capital monies — this doesn’t mean operating expenses but capital things — there has to be a meeting held of the three entities — the library, the county and the town — to vote on these things. Well, it’s really the library’s money, and we had a meeting a while back, and the library needed some money for some capital items and whatnot, and the capital items might be, like, computers.”

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The board meeting packet noted that the board’s library committee met with the Farmville Town Council’s library committee and the executive director of the library. The committees reviewed a request from the executive director to transfer $81,636.51 from the Library Trust Fund to purchase 45 computers and associated software and monitors, etc.; to purchase furniture, fixtures and equipment; to facilitate the resurfacing/repainting of two walls, one in the children’s library, which will have a mural, and another wall toward the front of the library.

Continuing on, the board meeting packet noted that the joint committee approved the purchases and then Farmville Town Manager Gerald Spates led a discussion stating that the Farmville Town Council had voted to dissolve the trust fund and provide the remaining funds to the Central Virginia Regional Library.

“At the moment, there is a little bit over $200,000 in that fund,” Wilck said at the board meeting. “Again, it’s library money, and I really don’t see any reason that the county’s involved, and I think (County Administrator) Wade (Bartlett) feels the same way, and Gerry Spates and the town feels the same way, so we’d like to pass a resolution or something to get us out of it so the library can handle their own money, basically, is what it boils down to.”

He cited two promises the library has made with regard to the money if it is transferred to the CVRL.

“One is it will only be for capital items,” Wilck said. “It will not be for operating expenses, and the other thing is it will only be spent in Prince Edward County for the library here.”

Rick Ewing

He then asked CVRL Director Rick Ewing, who was present at the board meeting, if there was anything he wanted to add.

“The only other thing is that in order for the library to use the money, I would need to go before the (library) board to request that money,” Ewing said. “… It’s not a free spending sort of a thing. I would need to justify it and talk to them about it.”

Wilck then asked Bartlett if the board needed to vote on the issue at hand.

“I would recommend that the board would vote on it to recommend that the trust fund be liquidated or dissolved and the money transferred to the Central Virginia Regional Library,” Bartlett said. “If you want to put a caveat in there, we can do that or not. It’s up to you.”

The board voted, settling the matter in short order.

“Thank you,” Ewing said.