LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The library's budget issues are not new
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Bemidji Pioneer by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bemidji Pioneer. To submit a letter, email email@example.com or mail it to Bemidji Pioneer, P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
A great deal has been made about the Bemidji Public Library potentially losing some funding.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a huge fan of KRLS, as I feel they have failed to live up to the needs of the communities they serve.
I have done some research on their funding issues. I downloaded and read their 2020 financial report directly from their website.
About halfway through the report, I found myself flummoxed, not by my lack of understanding of the report but, by the lack of detail and understanding of proper budgeting.
Categories were vague. Some projected budgetary needs were off by tens of thousands of dollars. This led to overruns of more than $100,000.
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I began to doubt my understanding of the report until I read the independent audit of the budget. KRLS Failed the audit on five points:
- Financial Reporting Process.
- Limited Segregation of Duties.
- Audit Adjustments.
- Funding Balance Policy.
- Deposits and Investments.
When you look at this as a whole, it begins to become evident that KRLS doesn’t have a solid grip on its finances.
I would be willing to double my property tax if I felt the money was being used to enrich our communities. However, this isn’t the case, professional auditors have looked at their budget and basically told us that they are irresponsible.
I think they should get the minimum funding until they can provide proper accounting of how they have spent our money.
It is also worth noting that these issues are not new, three of the issues were flagged as having been noted in 2019 as well. From what appears in the 2020 report KRLS hasn’t had a solid grip on its finances since about 2015.
The full report can be downloaded at krls.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/2020-Audit-Final-Report.