THE region's libraries will cost councils $48,000 more to run over the next 12 months, according to draft documents.
The Corangamite Regional Library Corporation draft budget for 2020-2021 predicts libraries will cost a total $3.35 million to run in the next financial year.
Corangamite, Moyne and Colac Otway Shires and Warrnambool City Council are all currently part of the corporation.
Costs to councils:
- Warrnambool: $859,000
- Colac-Otway: $742,000
- Corangamite: $465,000
- Moyne: $347,000
- State government: $805,000
- Other revenue: $133,750
- Total cost: $3.35 million
A number of expenses are expected to rise, including employee expenses by 1.9 per cent and user fees and charges by $1750:
- Council contributions ($48,500 increase)
- Government grants and subsidies ($21,991 increase)
- User fees and charges ($1750 increase)
- Employee expenses (1.9 per cent increase)
- Materials and services ($38,011 increase)
- Professional services ($22,200 increase)
- Computer equipment ($3500 increase)
This financial year more than $30,000 is tipped to be spent on WiFi replacement and a website redevelopment is looking to cost $15,000.
The new chief executive set to take over the corporation next month has made no secret of the fact he's stepping into the top role at the most challenging time yet.
Phil Howard is the current community and planning director at Strathbogie Shire Council and will take over the library corporation from retiring CEO Michael Scholtes in October.
With the pandemic closing libraries for most of the year and with Warrnambool City and Colac-Otway Shire - the two biggest contributors - leaving the group in the next 18 months, the future is uncertain.
"It's a challenging time under the changes to the new local government act where corporations will no longer exist over the 10 years and move to a different model," Mr Howard said.
"I must admit I do like challenges, especially shared services with other municipalities.
"We'll have to come up with another type of model, which might be involving other neighboring shires looking at other ways we can deliver services to the community.
Mr Howard will relocate to Colac for the job, and brings more than 25 years of experience in local government to the role.
"I think out of these challenges comes a way to improve a service as well," Mr Howard said.
"The whole COVID situation is affected a lot of services run by councils and many be looking to post-COVID initiatives and revitalising, and I think libraries will play an important part in that.
"My understanding is that even though libraries have been closed membership numbers have remained static, and even gone up in some cases, which is an indication that people will be looking to libraries after COVID."
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