Candidates for the Longboat Key Town Commission probably didn’t have to read between the lines when they were invited to speak to Longboat Library members and volunteers Monday, Jan. 7.
Library members have approached the commission over the past two years to explore funding options, such as including a line item in the town’s budget for the non-profit or allowing the library, which leases its land and building from the town, to piggyback off of the town’s insurance.
So, it was expected that library members and volunteers would want to know whether commissioners would consider opening the town’s checkbook in the future for the organization.
Mayor Jim Brown told those in attendance that the town’s line items have typically been reserved for organizations that belong to the town. Instead, he said that library services are an area in which the town could seek some of its tax dollars that go to Sarasota County back each year.
“It would be worth pursuing whether you would gain funds through the county by dropping the annual fee,” Brown said.
Library board members have explored funding options through Sarasota County and have been told by officials that state aid for library is conditioned on library services being free.
For now, however, membership fees remain the major source of income for the library, which is run by volunteers.