Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Audit report: Madeira Beach library misused funds

MADEIRA BEACH — The Madeira Beach Public Library may be facing a sharp reduction in county funding next year because it saved, instead of spent, nearly $400,000 of county money over the past seven years.

Money contributed to local libraries by the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative is supposed to be used for direct operations, book purchases and overhead costs.

According to library cooperative director Mary Brown, 80 percent of the libraries in the county spend all the money each year.

Not so for the Madeira Beach library, which is also supported by contributions from its five member towns (Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, Redington Beach, North Redington Beach and Redington Shores).

For at least the past seven years, the library has set aside some of the cooperative's contributions in a reserve account it hoped to use eventually to build a new library. That reserve now totals $396,764.

It also used some of that money this year to give its member towns a 50 percent reduction in their scheduled contributions for library operations.

The problem is that both uses are against the cooperative's rules.

"This unexpended (PPLC) funding is to be used for the operation of the Library and cannot be used for building improvements or additions," Peter Schatzel said in his audit report. "Additionally, the unexpended Cooperative (PPLC) funding cannot be used to supplant a decrease in local funding that would be disproportionate to a decrease in Cooperative funding."

The cooperative gives to all county libraries according to a complicated formula. For Madeira Beach that formula means the funding can match but not exceed the amount raised locally each year.

Brown said Monday that this year's drop in local contributions from the five towns will mean the funding from the cooperative likely will drop next year — in addition to an already scheduled $35,000 cut.

Local officials also are concerned the group may want some of the unspent money returned to the county library system.

Library Board Chairman and Redington Beach Mayor Nick Simons planned to meet with county library officials this morning to discover what, if any, punitive actions the cooperative might take.

"What I want to find out is how can we fix it? And why were we not told there were restrictions on the PPLC money?" Simons said Tuesday.

Madeira Beach City Manager W.D. Higginbotham Jr. also is upset the library board was not aware of the spending restrictions.

"The money hasn't been spent properly and the PPLC could demand it back," Higginbotham told his commission during a workshop session last week.

He predicted the member towns will continue to keep a close watch on library operations.

Last summer, Treasure Island threatened to withdraw its funding when it could not get budget information from the library.

During the dispute, sharp criticism of library director Jan Horah led to her and other library staff being fired.

Treasure Island subsequently agreed to formally rejoin the library system when the library offered to use part of its reserves to cover half the member towns' budget contributions.

Audit report: Madeira Beach library misused funds 05/12/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 6:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans

    Blogs

    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  2. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?

    Blogs

    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  3. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo

    Nation

    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  4. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies

    News

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  5. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win

    Colleges

    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.