On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors decided to use cannabis revenue to make up library services deficits for the Montecito Vandenberg Village and Orcutt County Branch Libraries.
The board met at their hearing room in the County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St.
According to a hearing minute order, $68,500 was allocated to fund existing hours and programming at the libraries.
The Orcutt branch library will receive $12,261, Vandenberg Village will receive $11,229 and Montecito will get an additional $44,956.
The supervisors also authorized a one-year agreement for the operation of a Countywide library system between the County and the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Lompoc and Santa Maria.
The multi-city agreement will run until June 30, 2020 for an amount not to exceed $3,855,300. The respective city councils will need to approve the deal.
Santa Maria is in line to receive almost $1.29 million to provide library services for Cuyama, Guadalupe, Los Alamos, Orcutt and Santa Maria.
Lompoc would receive nearly $500,000 for Vandenberg Village and Vandenberg Air Force Base and Lompoc.
Goleta would receive $961,081 for services in Solvang, Buellton, Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, Gaviota, Isla Vista, Hope Ranch, and portions of Goleta.
Santa Barbara’s would get just over $1.1 million to provide services Carpinteria, Montecito and Santa Barbara.
Each region’s County funding is based on the population of the cities and nearby unincorporated areas.
Without the cannabis revenue, County libraries would experience widespread reductions to services and hours said County Chief Financial Officer Ryder Bailey.
The Library Ad Hoc Committee and county staff will continue searching for a mechanism to provide sustainable funding for the County Library System so the branch libraries won’t have to ask the board every year for money to keep the facilities operating. They will present their findings to the Board sometime in 2020.
“What other options are there for them to look at and bring back to us in 2020,” mused Supervisor Steve Lavagnino during the hearing. He expressed concern that there is simply not enough private sector support to resolve the library system’s budget issues.
“One of the issues we run to every year is the exhaustion of fund balances and as costs increase every year there is no (Consumer Price Index) mechanism in how we fund the libraries. So, if we don’t match the raises people get or the utilities increases, we’re essentially cutting every year,” said Mr. Bailey.
Supervisor Das Williams added that addressing the library funding issue will likely require help from the local communities.
“This board has been successful in, over the past few years, one by one addressing these sustainability issues – for instance the sustainability of Carpinteria library was once very much under threat. We offered more funds if the City stepped up and so the City allocated a portion of their sales tax and we’ve allocated a portion of our marijuana tax and now Carpinteria library looks stable,” said Mr. Williams.