With her retirement planned for the end of the year, the president of the York County Library System asked York County Commissioners on Monday for a "parting gift" -- $100,000.
Trish Calvani is asking the county to match donations the library system gets through a fundraiser planned during National Library Week in April.
Under her concept, the county coffers would contribute $1 for every $1 the library system raises through donations, up to $100,000, she said. So for example, if the library system is only able to raise $30,000, the county would only have to kick in $30,000.
A similar fundraising effort in Lancaster raised $1.7 million, Calvani said, though she said she's not that ambitious about the results for York.
Lost money: Calvani said the fundraiser is being planned to offset losses in recent years. With funding increases unlikely from the state, libraries have to be creative to raise money, she said.
The library system is funded primarily through a one-tenth of a mill tax from county taxpayers, which raises about $2.5 million.
In 2010, after having lost nearly $700,000 in state funding, the library system's board asked county commissioners to increase the tax. They said the deficit resulted in fewer new materials, reduced circulation, and the elimination of 27 staff members at the county's 13 libraries.
But commissioners declined, citing the poor economy and saying cash-strapped taxpayers would balk at the increase.
Mulling it: Commissioners Steve Chronister and Doug Hoke said they'd mull the proposal, but the state of the county budget will again determine whether the county can help.
The decision won't be made until the 2014 budget is finalized, Hoke said. Commissioners are still debating special allocations and budget requests.
The preliminary budget for the coming year is expected to be presented on Wednesday, Nov. 27, he said.
Hoke applauded the library advocates for their creativity, but he said he's unsure of whether he's willing to commit taxpayer money to match private donations.
"But I think fundraising is a good thing to do, whether it's the library or the SPCA," he said.
Chronister agreed, but he said he's not sure he'll go for the $100,000 donation.
"I think it's a great idea for them to go out and market their needs that way -- to reach out to the people who use the libraries," he said. "But I think as a taxpayer if I were to read in the paper the commissioners gave $100,000, I'd feel like I gave twice."
Commissioner Chris Reilly was absent from the meeting.