Kāpiti Coast District Council officials have revealed the Mayor and councillors can still vote to reverse the massive cut in the budget for library books.
Mayor and Crs responsible
In the annual plan process, Mayor K Gurunathan and councillors agreed to cut nearly half of the $402,000 budget for library books and materials.
It was claimed this was necessary because of the huge losses incurred by the closure of the Waikanae Library following toxic mould infestation.
But the KCDC has now stated, in answers to KIN questions, the District’s 42,000 readers could still get their books back.
Officials at the KCDC also say the decision to slash the books and materials budget by $191,000 was taken by Mayor Gurunthan and councillors, without a formal vote or any recorded objections from elected members.
KCDC claims to have interests of readers at heart
They say: ‘The Council fully understands the important role libraries play in aiding literacy and in supporting community and social wellbeing. Across our four district libraries, people can access more than 137,650 physical items and 7141 online books as well as a range of other services and activities.
‘We expect to spend around $211,073 on new collection items this year.
‘This is less than previous years but we are looking at ways to make sure we continue to provide a balanced collection including new titles in our popular genres.’
More than a quarter of a million library visits each year
There are approximately 41,619 active borrowers with 253,900 library visits across the Kāpiti Coast District.
Key questions for Council
The Kapiti Independent asked these questions about all relevant details and documents on the book budget cuts.
1. Who arrived at the cuts figure of $191,000?
KCDC’s answer: Book buying budgets are set each year through the Council’s Annual Plan process. The budget was reduced from $402,427 in the 2018/19 year to $211,073 in the 2019/20 year as part of this process.
2. If this was a staff member ( who initiated cuts), who was it?
Answer: The decision was made by Councillors as part of the Council’s Annual Plan process for the 2019/20 financial year.
3. Did you approve the final figure?
Answer: As per our response to question 2, it was made by Councillors as part of the Council’s Annual Plan process for the 2019/20 financial year.
4. Was this amount ( $191,000) , or a similar amount, ever approved by Mayor and coucnillors?
A: This decision was made as part of the wider adoption of the 2019/20 Annual Plan, which was passed by the Council at its meeting on 23 May 2019.
5. If so, was a vote taken? What were the figures for this vote?
A: A division was not called for voting to pass the Annual Plan, so there is no specific list of who approved (or did not approve) the resolution.
6. In the Annual Plan process, what were the voting details for Mayor and councillors on this issue?
A: This question is answered in the response to question 5 above.
7. What action can be taken now to rescind the cuts decision?
As the decision was made as part of the of the wider adoption of the 2019/20 Annual Plan, which was passed by the Council at its meeting on 23 May 2019 rather than rescind that decision the Council could resolve to increase the book buying budget.
8. And one additional question: Who exactly made the decision to cut this money? I’m not talking about the Annual Plan Statement, which is vague, did the Councillors and Mayor agree on the cuts and the figure?
A: The decision was made by Councillors as part of the Council’s Annual Plan process for the 2019/20 financial year.
Note: The Council letter is signed: ‘Yours sincerely James Jefferson Group Manager Place and Space Te Kaihautū Takiwā, Waahi hoki ‘