Mint Hill still stands where it has for two weeks: Will donate to the library if it is fair across the board

A press release by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, as well as other media sources, have said that boards from Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews and Mint Hill met yesterday to officially vote on how much they will give the library to keep doors open. However, Mint Hill Board of Commissioners did not meet yesterday. They voted at the previous board meeting almost two weeks ago to give the library $175,000, as long as it is equitable to what the other towns are giving. As of now, the equitability is in question. Cornelius, the only other town that was willing to give the full $175,000 in cash, voted yesterday that the donation come with several conditions:

The Cornelius board approval came with a series of conditions. Chief among those is a need to work out an “asset transfer agreement” with the county equivalent to $175,000. The agreement could include a lien, an asset swap, or a promissory note, the board said.

Other conditions, according to draft minutes of Monday’s meeting, included:

  • Commitment of the Library Board of Trustees to the Contingency Plan adopted by the Mecklenburg County Commission;
  • That funds be released on the staggered schedule outlined in the Contingency Plan adopted by Mecklenburg County and only upon satisfactory completion of the conditions set forth in that document;
  • Emergency support participation, either financial or in-kind, by the City of Charlotte and three other towns (in addition to Cornelius);
  • The town attorney will review and amend the interlocal agreement as necessary;
  • That a town representative be appointed to the Steering Committee.

Expect Mint Hill to follow suit and offer conditions to giving the library $175,000. After the break: Read the press release sent by the library, as well as the Memorandum of Understanding that four of the five towns approved yesterday.FROM THE LIBRARY:

Five Mecklenburg Towns approve Interlocal Cooperation Agreement for one-time Library funding

Charlotte, NC – In a historic move, five of the Towns in Mecklenburg County have committed to providing one-time support to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
for fiscal year 2011 (FY2011). In each of the five Towns, local governing bodies met today, and approved an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement with the Library. The Library would like to thank the governing bodies and staffs of all the Towns, as well as Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte, for coming together in support of libraries during this crisis.

The five participating Towns have committed to the following levels of support.

- Cornelius: $175,000 contribution

- Davidson: forgiveness of lease payment in the amount of approximately $37,000; and
solicitation of additional donations to total $175,000

- Huntersville: in-kind contributions such as programs, cross-promotion,
representative liaison for the Huntersville Destinations Round Table, and
police/security presence in and around the North County Regional Library

- Matthews: restructuring of lease to defer current payment to 2018 of $205,000

- Mint Hill: $175,000 contribution

With this latest contribution of approximately $730,000 from the Towns, the Library will have approximately $23.3 million to operate its 20 remaining locations in FY2011. This is a significant decrease from approximately $32 million in County funding for FY2010; but an increase from the originally proposed funding level of $17.67 million. The Library still had to close four branches last week, and will have to cut hours at the remaining branches by 26%, and lay off approximately 66, or 18%, of remaining staff. 120 staff were laid off in April due to FY2010 reductions.

Based on this funding level, Library officials have proposed a schedule of operation, with 670-680 hours spread over 20 locations. This would group all locations into geographic areas or “pods” – each with one regional and several community libraries. In this proposed schedule, the regional libraries will be open at least 34 hours and 4 days a week; the community libraries will be open at least 32 hours and 4 days a week. This schedule is the hours equivalent of closing six branches. The Library Board of Trustees will vote on this schedule, as well as the FY2011 budget, at its regular meeting on Thursday, June 24 at noon.

To recap the Library’s FY2011 funding situation to date: last week, Mecklenburg County approved $21.17 million in funding for the Library: $17.67 million, plus $3.5 million contingent upon the Library agreeing to pursue the consolidation of some Library functions such as IT, Human Resources, Communications,
Finance, and Capital Projects management. Mecklenburg County also credited the Library with approximately $2.28 million for the consolidation of its Maintenance and Security functions. On June 7, the City of Charlotte approved $1.4 million in one-time emergency funding for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, with similar conditions.

To help guide the re-examination of the Library’s operating and funding models, the Library Board expects to convene a citizen task force.

Citizens concerned about libraries can visit www.cmlibrary.org/support for more information. For more information about the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, visit our website at www.cmlibrary.org. Also look for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.

THE MOU DRAFTED BY THE LIBRARY

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

THIS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (this “Memorandum”) dated as of June __, 2010, is made by and among the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (the “Library”), the Town of Cornelius, North Carolina (“Cornelius”), the Town of Davidson, North Carolina (“Davidson”), the Town of Huntersville, North Carolina (“Huntersville”), the Town of Matthews, North Carolina (“Matthews”) and the Town of Mint Hill, North Carolina (“Mint Hill”).

Background Statement

A. The Library is a corporate body, created and continued in existence by special acts of the General Assembly of North Carolina (collectively, its “Charter”).1

B. Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews and Mint Hill (collectively, the “Towns”) are North Carolina municipalities.

C. Pursuant to its Charter, the Library provides free library service to the citizens of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, through a system that includes branch library facilities in the Towns, the City of Charlotte (the “City”) and the unincorporated area of Mecklenburg County (the “County”).

D. According to the Charter, the “governing bodies of [the City], [the County] and such other municipalities or counties as may agree or contract with [the Library] for provision of library service may make such appropriations to [the Library] for its support and maintenance as are permitted under the General Statutes of North Carolina.”2

E. The Library has traditionally received the major portion of its funding from the County.  As a consequence of its own reduced revenues, the County has adopted a budget for FY2011 that significantly reduces the level of funding for the Library.

F. The City has agreed to provide one-time, supplemental funding in the amount of $1,400,000 to assist the Library in the operation of its system of libraries in FY2011.  The City’s commitment is conditioned on the Library’s receiving financial and/or in-kind support from at least four of the Towns.

G. The Towns have agreed to provide support for the Library, upon the terms and conditions set forth in this Memorandum.

Agreement

1. Funding Commitments.  Each of the Towns agrees to support the Library by making a one-time, financial commitment in the amount specified in Schedule A for FY2011 (each a “Town Commitment”). Each of the Town Commitments in the form of a stipulated cash amount shall be paid to the Library in quarterly installments, on the first day of each quarter beginning on July 1, 2010.  To the extent stated in Schedule A, the Town Commitment may consist of the Town’s commitment to (a) use its best efforts to solicit and collect contributions for that purpose from private sources, (b) forgive or defer rental payments, or (c) make in-kind contributions.  The Town Commitments are conditioned on satisfaction of the contingencies that were made a part of the City’s $1,400,000 commitment.

2. Minimum Service Level.  In consideration of each Town Commitment, the Library agrees to operate the existing branch library in the applicable Town according to a schedule for FY2011 that provides for the minimum number of days and hours set forth below, subject only to fire, casualty, holidays and other causes beyond its control (the “Minimum Hours”).

(a) The schedule for the North County regional library in Huntersville will be integrated with the schedules for the neighborhood libraries in Cornelius and Davidson; and the schedule for the Independence regional library will be integrated with the schedules for the community libraries in Matthews and Mint Hill (each such area grouping being sometimes referred to as a “Pod”).

(b) The North County and Independence regional libraries shall be open and operated at least 34 hours and 4 days each week; the community libraries in Matthews and Mint Hill and the neighborhood libraries in Cornelius and Davidson shall be open and operated at least 32 hours per week and 4 days each week.

The actual, detailed schedule shall be substantially as set forth in Schedule B, subject to such reasonable adjustments and alterations (e.g., reversing the Saturday schedules for Cornelius and Davidson) as may be considered appropriate by the Library.

3. Enhanced Service Levels.  The Library agrees to operate the existing branch in each Town according to a schedule that provides for days and hours of service in excess of the Minimum Hours (the “Additional Hours”), up to and including the number of days and hours of service being provided by the Library on the date of this Memorandum (i.e., 43 hours and 5 days per week for regional libraries, and 41 hours and 5 days for community and neighborhood libraries), upon the following terms and conditions:

(a) acting alone or collectively with other members of its Pod, each Town requesting and receiving Additional Hours shall have recruited and provided, for the branch library within its jurisdiction, qualified, dependable volunteers in accordance with the numbers, hours, job descriptions, qualifications and other guidelines set forth in Schedule C (the “Volunteer Guidelines”);

(b) the Library shall be responsible for training, scheduling and managing the volunteers provided by each such Town for service in the library facilities located in that Town;

(c) the Library shall, as soon as practicable, begin preparation for the training and use of volunteers, but the Library shall not be required to provide Additional Hours for a Town library until (i) the Town has identified and made available for training the necessary volunteers, and (ii) the Library is satisfied, in its reasonable discretion, that such volunteers have been adequately trained and are in numbers sufficient to allow scheduling and operating the Additional Hours in accordance with the standard of service established under this Memorandum; and

(d) the requisite number of volunteers shall have substantially performed their obligations in accordance with the Volunteer Guidelines.

In lieu of volunteers, a Town at its sole cost and expense may make available one or more of its employees to provide comparable service to the Library in accordance with the Volunteer Guidelines.

Each Town seeking Additional Hours shall provide for the services of a qualified employee or volunteer to (i) manage the recruitment and furnishing of its volunteers and (ii) assist the Library’s volunteer coordinator in the qualifying, scheduling, training and use of the Town’s volunteers.

4. Miscellaneous.

(a) The nature and quality of service during the Minimum Hours and Additional Hours shall be comparable to the nature and quality of service provided by the Library as of the date of this Memorandum.

(b) This Memorandum contains the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the subject matter thereof, and supersedes any prior oral or written understandings.  No modification of this Memorandum and no waiver of any of its terms or conditions shall be effective unless made in writing and duly executed by the Library and the Town or Towns affected thereby.

(c) This Memorandum may be executed in any number of identical counterparts, any or all of which may contain the signatures of fewer than all of the parties, but all of which shall be construed together as a single instrument.  Counterparts of this Memorandum or its signature pages may be delivered via facsimile; provided, however, that an original counterpart of such signature page is promptly forwarded to the other party.

(d) This Memorandum shall not confer any rights or remedies on any person other than the parties and their respective successors.

(e) Time is of the essence of this Memorandum.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned parties have caused this Memorandum to be executed as of the date hereof, pursuant to authority duly given.

[Signatures begin on following page]

              • PUBLIC LIBRARY OF CHARLOTTE AND MECKLENBURG COUNTY
              • By:
              • Name:
              • Title:
              • TOWN OF CORNELIUS, NORTH CAROLINA
              • By:
              • Name:
              • Title:
              • TOWN OF DAVIDSON, NORTH CAROLINA
              • By:
              • Name:
              • Title:
              • TOWN OF HUNTERSVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
              • By:
              • Name:
              • Title:
              • TOWN OF MATTHEWS, NORTH CAROLINA
              • By:
              • Name:
              • Title:
              • TOWN OF MINT HILL, NORTH CAROLINA
              • By:
              • Name:
              • Title:

Schedule A

Town Commitments

Town Commitment
Cornelius Contribute $175,000 in cash
Davidson Forgive semi-annual lease payment due October 1, 2010 in the amount of $36,581.06; exercise its best efforts to solicit and obtain, not later than June 30, 2011, cash contributions for FY2011 to the Library from private donors or its own resources in a minimum amount equal to the difference between the rent forgiven and $175,000.
Huntersville Make in-kind contributions as follows:  [to be completed]
Matthews Amend its lease with the Library to eliminate the installment of rent due on July 1, 2010 in the amount of $204,609, and require payment of an installment in that amount on July 1, 2017.
Mint Hill Contribute $175,000 in cash.

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Schedule C

Volunteer Guidelines

1. Minimum Qualifications.  Each person serving as a Library volunteer must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Complete the Library’s standard volunteer application form.
  • Satisfactorily complete the Library’s standard interview and screening process
  • Pass a standard Library background check
  • Be at least 14 years old
  • Possess the skills necessary for the tasks assigned, as prescribed on Library website3
  • Complete such orientation and training as may be required for specific volunteer tasks
  • Sign and abide by confidentiality agreement4

2. Commitment.  While the Library welcomes short-term and sporadic volunteer commitments, the volunteers needed by the Library to provide consistent and reliable Additional Hours must commit to provide, and actually provide, significant blocks of time on a regular basis.  A typical satisfactory commitment might be for 2 hours on one day of each week; 8 hours per month.  The number of hours and the frequency of service cannot be definitively defined, but the Library will use reasonable efforts to accept and accommodate volunteer service to satisfy the requirements for opening and operating a library branch facility, so long as it may do so without jeopardizing the safety of its patrons and the level of service reasonably expected by its patrons.  A spirit of cooperation and commitment will be essential to the success of this expanded, experimental volunteer program.

3. Volunteer Hours.  Until the Towns and the Library have actual experience with the use of volunteers under these circumstances (reduced staff and expanded volunteer involvement), the parties will be unable to say with certainty how many volunteer hours will be required to provide the intended level of library service.  However, the applicable parties agree to cooperate with each other to determine the actual number of volunteer hours reasonably required to qualify for, and adequately support, Additional Hours.  Based on information available to and provided by the Library staff, the parties consider the following to be reasonable approximations of the volunteer hour requirements.

To enable the Library to operate each branch during the Minimum Hours and 3 or 4 Additional Hours each week, the applicable Town (alone or in concert with other members of its Pod) must recruit qualified, dependable volunteers willing and able to provide at least the total number of hours of volunteer service each month set forth below:

    • Town (Classification) Volunteer Service Hours/Month
      Cornelius (Neighborhood) 144
      Davidson (Neighborhood) 144
      Huntersville (Regional) 400
      Matthews (Community) 400
      Mint Hill (Community) 200

The required number of volunteer service hours has been projected based primarily on (a) the actual number of volunteer hours used in current months to sustain the current schedule and (b) the expectation that Library staff for the applicable locations will be reduced in FY2011.  For example, 13 volunteers in Cornelius provided a total of 104 service hours during the month of March 2010.  The Library estimates that at least that number of volunteer hours per month will be required to operate the Minimum Hours in FY2011.  Therefore, to open the branch for 3 to 4 additional hours each week is expected to require at least 40 more volunteer service hours, or a total of 144 volunteer service hours.  Thus, Cornelius would need to recruit approximately 18 volunteers willing to provide 8 hours of service each month to enable the Library to operate the Minimum Hours and the Additional Hours.

The foregoing assumes that each such volunteer shall be able to perform, at a minimum, the tasks described in the Library’s job descriptions for a “Circulation Volunteer Assistant” or “Technical Assistant.”  However, the Library agrees to be flexible in the acceptance and use of qualified and dependable volunteers (i.e., other combinations of skills and abilities), as long as the fundamental requirements for the professional operation of the library branch are not compromised.

The Library cannot overemphasize how important will be the consistency and regularity of service by a volunteer, as it values consistency and regularity of its own employees.

4. Dismissal.  The Library reserves the right, at all times and its sole discretion, to dismiss a volunteer that is unable to fulfill the needs of the Library or satisfy its basic requirements.

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