James Johnson, Jr., Chair
900 North Ashley Drive
Tampa, Florida 33602
James Martin, Jr., Vice-Chair
William Scheuerle, Secretary
Phone: (813) 273-3660
Fax: (813) 273-3707

Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library Board



Library Staff:
Joe Stines, Director
Marcee Challener, Assistant Director
Sheryl Herold, Accountant

David Wullschleger, Chief of Operations
Suzy George, Facilities Officer
Jeannie Fletcher, Administrative Assistant

Linda Gillon, Manager of Staff & Administrative Support

Special Guests:
Becky Milburn, Budget Analyst, Hillsborough County Budget Department


Vice-Chairman Linda Arnold called the meeting to order at 4:05 PM


Rosa Goldsmith conducted the roll call for the meeting.

Library Board Members Present:
Linda Arnold, Vice Chairman
Dora Reeder, Fred Hearns
Helen Swisshelm, Gloria Abrams
Sandra Cameron, Elizabeth Blue
Catherine Cottle
Library Board Excused:
Kay O'Rourke, Chairman
Rosa Goldsmith, Secretary
Arnold Kotler, Nancy Crippen

Library Board Absent:

CALL TO ORDER Vice-Chairman Linda Arnold called the meeting to order at 4:05 PM


Helen Swisshelm requested a change in verbiage on page 4, paragraph 2. The changes were noted.


Planning Committee:

Brandon Chamber of Commerce Meeting- On March 31, 1998, a meeting was held at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce. Those present included Ed Hunzeker, ACA for Management Services, Claudia Yake, Director of Center Place, Joe Stines, Patrice Koerper and members of the Brandon Chamber of Commerce. Linda Arnold represented the Library Board Planning Committee. The purpose was to respond to concerns of the Brandon Chamber and businessmen in Brandon. Discussions centered around the need for a new library in the Brandon area. The Southeast County Regional Library and Town Hall Center were mentioned. Linda said Joe Stines presented an overview of the library system. He reviewed needs for maintenance, new services, extended service and expansion of current facilities. Joe also announced that the Eastlake Branch is being re-located. Those present were very supportive of the move to Seffner/Mango. It was agreed that a facility on S.R. 579 would alleviate the crowded conditions in Brandon.

Library service needs in Brandon were also discussed. Those present explored whether it would be better to build a new regional facility in the Bloomingdale area or sell the existing facility and re-locate in the Town Hall Center currently being planned. Linda noted that the Town Hall Center will be located close to the new exit off the Crosstown Expressway when the Crosstown is extended. It will include offices and may have space for a library and/or Center Place. She commented that this would certainly address the parking problem at the Brandon Regional Library.

Members of the Chamber asked what they could do to help get another regional library in the Brandon area. Linda said they were instructed to do two things: 1) attend the meeting when the BOCC votes on the re-location of Eastlake 2) talk about libraries to other Brandon residents. They were also encouraged to become involved with the Friends of the Library.

Joe Stines said Brandon Chamber members had gone to Tallahassee to ask for state funds to help build another library in the area. Joe and Ed Hunzeker both offered to work with the Chamber but suggested that they start with the Library Board and BOCC because any state funds would have to be matched by the County. Mr. Hunzeker pointed out that CIT funds would be a logical source of monies for a new regional library. Joe added that building a new regional library and re-locating the current facility would require very different approaches. He suggested that they discuss options and priorities, i.e., whether to focus on re-locating the Brandon Regional Library to the Brandon Town Center or build a new Southeast County Regional Library.

West Tampa- Joe said he and Dora Reeder attended a meeting at the West Tampa Library. The needs of the building have not been looked at closely for a long time. In the 1980's the facility received a new roof, new carpeting and other amenities; however, nothing was done to the structure. The pillars continue to decay in spite of efforts to shore them up. Joe explained that there is $60,000 in one line item in the CIT fund and $400,000 in another--both designated for West Tampa. He said it would be necessary to decide how those funds should be expended. He and Dora Reeder agreed that it would be beneficial to have an exhaustive study done to see what it would take to restore and expand the building so that it would be comparable to College Hill or 78th St.. He suggested that the money could come from the $60,000 line item.

Helen Swisshelm asked if the study would be done in-house. Joe responded that it would be done by an architectural firm already on retainer with the County and would cost $25,000. He stressed that anyone doing the study would need to have experience with historical buildings.

Sandra Cameron asked what the pillars are made of. Joe responded that they're made of wood. Catherine Cottle suggested arranging a field trip to look at the building. Joe agreed that this would be advantageous.

Helen Swisshelm asked about parking at West Tampa. Dora responded that the Library Board talked about purchasing the property behind the facility years ago, but nothing was done. Currently, parking is very inadequate.

Sandra Cameron asked how West Tampa could get into such deplorable condition when the County has a Facilities Maintenance Department to take care of its buildings. She questioned whether or not the Library should have its own in-house facilities department. Dora Reeder agreed and said that what really hurts is that West Tampa is a Carnegi building--a part of history. Joe replied that the West Tampa facility belonged to the City of Tampa for many years; when it was transferred from the City to the County there were already many problems. It was not well-built to begin with and has decayed substantially over the last ten years. Joe said he felt that the time for repairing the facility had passed long ago. He stressed again, that it would be worthwhile to have architects do a thorough analysis.

Sandra Cameron asked if Jan Abel would be able to do the work. Joe explained that the architectural firms used by the County must rotate. Joe said again that he would pursue getting a complete analysis of the building done and continue working with the Urban League to explore options with them.

Catherine Cottle asked what the $400,000 was allocated for. Joe said it was to be used to repair the basement and shore up the columns. He added that it would not be enough to do the entire job. He said the library could apply for state grants to match the $400,000 if it appears cost-effective to renovate the building.

Gloria Abrams said she would be the first to suggest saving a building even if its integrity is intact; however, she expressed concern about the number of negatives--the condition of the structure, the lack of parking, lack of meeting room space etc. She suggested surveying the citizens in the area to see how they feel about it. Joe agreed and said he wouldn't want people to be surprised if the Library moves out of the building. He mentioned that the citizens in Lincoln Gardens are also interested in a library. This also needs to be taken into consideration when West Tampa's needs are re-evaluated. He noted that a library in Lincoln Gardens/West Tampa Library is on the Unmet Needs list.

Gloria Abrams expressed concern because she had been assured three years ago by the Architectural Services Dept. that the columns at West Tampa were safe. She said she would like to see a better guarantee that no one would be hurt between now and the time when a decision is made to renovate or re-locate. Joe said the pillars are secure presently but would not last for another ten years. He said Don Harwig had suggested filling up the entire basement with cement. He pointed out that this would not address the fact that the building has no meeting room space, inadequate parking and other problems. Gloria Abrams suggested either expediting the study or declaring the building inoperative for a period of time.

Sandra Cameron asked if Mr. Harwig had assured the Library that the building is safe. Joe replied "yes" but added that a complete analysis would give a better picture. Suzy George commented that Architectural Services also supports having the study done. She added that assurance regarding the safety of the building was given a year ago. At that time, there were no air quality problems or concerns about mold and mildew, however.

Joe said pumps are controlling the flooding problem caused by our heavy winter rains but the building still has an odor. Gloria Abrams commented that she couldn't see why the County would even allow people to enter the building. Helen Swisshelm agreed and said the problems include much more than the architectural structure. She said the dampness is unhealthy; staff have to use a room in the sub-basement, for example.

Joe said it would take a lot of political support to speed up the study of the building. He said he would like to see a partnership with the Urban League when their building is finished and then decide to renovate or build a new West Tampa facility. He said the Urban League has agreed to this idea. They will have 1500 sq. ft. available and the County would have to pay rent. The building they are renovating is five blocks north of the current site and should be finished in about a year.

Gloria Abrams asked if it would be possible to re-locate the current West Tampa facility to a storefront until a permanent solution can be found. She asked how long it would take to make such a move. Joe responded that it would take 6-8 months. He gave the re-location of Eastlake as an example. Gloria pointed out that there was no safety factor with Eastlake and suggested that West Tampa might have to be handled differently. Joe said he would set up a meeting involving Mike Kelly, the Library Board, and Bill Herrig of the County's Insurance & Claims Department to discuss the facility.


Gloria Abrams made a motion that the Chairman of the Library Board write a letter inviting Mr. Kleman to visit the West Tampa Library with members of the Library Board. Sandra Cameron seconded.

      - The motion passed 8-0.

Helen Swisshelm noted that West Tampa had 924 Juvenile transactions for the month of March. She said that was a rather low figure considering the number of children in the area. She questioned whether the front steps presented a problem. Dora Reeder suggested that it is not a problem for young mothers and children but could pose a problem for older people.

As the discussion of West Tampa ended, Joe pointed out that there are serious concerns about John F. Germany Public Libraryas well. He said some provision for a new John F. Germany Public Libraryneeds to be made in the CIT.

Fred Hearns expressed concern about the liability of the Library Board in cases where a building is not safe. He asked for an opinion from the County Attorney's office, especially regarding West Tampa.

Interlocal Agreements - Joe reported that staff are working on interlocal agreements with Plant City and Temple Terrace. Although a new Interlocal Cooperative Agreement is in the planning stage, models from past years will be used for FY98. Joe said the Planning Committee would work this summer on a new Interlocal Cooperative Agreement which will bring in more state aid to THPL.

Fred Hearns pointed out that, while Temple Terrace's Interlocal mentions agreement with State and Federal EO guidelines, there is no mention of compliance with local guidelines. He said he strongly recommended that the Library Board speak to the City of Temple Terrace about drafting a local ordinance supporting equal opportunity for all citizens just as Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa have done. Fred said he would like to know that everyone would have a fair chance to be hired.

Joe agreed and said the "boiler plate" language in the interlocal agreements may need to be updated. He said he would find out if Plant City and Temple Terrace have their own ordinances. Catherine Cottle suggested that the language should reference federal, state and local guidelines. Fred pointed out that Temple Terrace has opted out of the County's plan and has no plan of their own. He said that was his reason for concern. Joe said he would look into the requirements for State Aid also.

Budget Committee:

Helen Swisshelm said the Budget Committee met on April 14, with Fred Hearns, Linda Arnold and Kay O'Rourke attending. She explained that the 1999 budget is the second year in the 2-year budget cycle. There were no major changes in operations; only minor adjustments needed to be made. She said the continuation budget would be within the 5% allowable increase. Staff were able to justify any increases over that amount in certain line items.

Joe Stines gave an overview of the FY99 budget.

Character 10 (Personnel)- Personnel costs have increased due to the opening of 78th St. and New Tampa and merit increases for FY99. He said merit increases are budgeted for an average 4% increase. Joe explained that the figure for personnel would change as the Budget Dept. adds in insurance costs, etc. Pay compression was not included in the FY99 figure. Sheryl Herold commented that the total amount for pay compression was $92,000 from now until the end of FY98. This includes both salaries and benefits. Helen Swisshelm noted that the Library Services Dept. would not have a large roll-over in personnel funds as in previous years. Joe Stines agreed and said funds in this category would be tighter than they have been in a long time. He said it would get even tighter with the opening of the Jan Platt Regional Library; the largest increase will come in the FY2000 budget. He said the Principal Librarian, Page and Van Driver for Jan Platt would be hired a year ahead of time to prepare for the new facility. The remaining staff needed to operate the Jan Platt Library will be hired in FY2000.

Character 60 (Capital Outlay)- Joe said this category contained less than the allowable 5% increase. If this item is approved, the budget for Library Materials will be $3.4 million.

Character 80 (Grants & Aids)- This category covers monies paid to Plant City and Temple Terrace through interlocal agreements. Significant changes are not anticipated. 40% of the operating costs of Bruton Memorial and Temple Terrace come from the interlocal agreements.

Character 30 (Operating Expenses)- Moving Eastlake will have a minimal effect on the FY99 budget; only a very small increase is anticipated. THPL is also living within budget on 78th St. and New Tampa. No changes in Travel and Training are anticipated. The only increase is for the operation of the new Port Tampa City Library.

Total budget for FY99 is $18,636,522.

Sandra Cameron commented that Indirect Costs are very high. Joe Stines said this line item would remain the same ($705,333 for FY99). He explained that there is a move in the County toward inter-departmental billing. He noted that the Library Dept. received a $10,500 bill from Information & Technology Services for consulting fees. ITS has never charged before.

Sandra Cameron asked how the bill would be paid when the budget is already established. Becky Milburn said the money would have been included in the budget somewhere--perhaps as funds for an outside consultant. It would be a matter of shifting the funds to ITS instead. Joe asked if the Library would have the option of using an outside contractor. Becky responded that departments have a certain amount of freedom. It would depend on the arrangements made between ITS and the Library.

Joe suggested inviting Eric Johnson to attend a Library Board meeting to discuss cost allocation. The Board agreed.

Elizabeth Blue noted that $705,000 has been budgeted for Indirect Costs in FY99. She asked if that figure would cover the bill from ITS. When Joe said "no," she asked what the $705,000 would cover. Joe replied that it would cover costs for Human Resources, the Legal Dept. and all other departments not currently billing directly. Elizabeth also asked how Indirect Costs are calculated. Becky Milburn replied that the figure is calculated by an outside consultant. Joe said he expected costs for indirects to go up.

Catherine Cottle asked if the $10,000 bill from ITS could come out of the $705,000 budgeted for Indirect Costs. Joe responded that it would come out of Character 30 (Operating Expenses). Consequently, one of the building maintenance projects might have to be deferred. Becky Milburn said that, as long as the figure was only $10,000, it shouldn't be a problem to find the money.

Helen Swisshelm continued her report by reminding the Board that, in 1993, the Library Board went to the BOCC and asked for a .1 mill increase to fund three new libraries (New Tampa Regional, 78th St. Community and the Jan Platt Regional Library). It was expected that land would be donated; therefore, the .1 mill did not cover the cost of land purchases. She explained that this had not happened. Land was donated for New Tampa alone; the other two sites were purchased. The intention was to collect money for the construction of the three new libraries and then continue with it to fund the operating costs of these new libraries. The .1 mill has been collected since 1993 and the Jan Platt Regional Library will not be completed until summer of 2000.

Helen asked what was happening to the .1 mill during all the years it has been collected. Joe replied that 78th Street and New Tampa have been paid for. Most of the .1 mill was applied to construction costs. He agreed that having to purchase the land made a difference and added that this is the major reason why the Jan Platt Regional Library is slower in being built. He said staff had worked hard to get State funds for the Jan Platt Library; without it, money would be very tight.

Becky Milburn explained that she prorated how much of the new taxes were related to growth and changes in the old taxes and how much was related to the .1 mill. Those calculations have been carried forward each year. She said she set up a transfer from the operating budget to the capital budget and assured the Library Board that the money is still earmarked for the Jan Platt Regional Library--in so far as it has been accumulated.

Helen Swisshelm asked if the funds would be sufficient to build the Jan Platt Regional Library. Becky said "no--not enough funds have been collected yet." She added that she has been keeping track of all monies collected from the .1 mill throughout the years. While she didn't have the exact percentage of interest from the Clerk's Office, she assumed 5%. During the years when the money was accumulating for the construction of New Tampa and 78th St., there was a large increase in interest earnings because the money was not being touched. She said there was $643,000 as of the end of the last fiscal year. Interest collected in the current fiscal year will be added to this amount. She said a transfer should be made this year into the capital fund.

Becky continued by saying that $2.4-2.6 million was being collected from the .1 mill. However, now that 78th St. and New Tampa are opened $1.2-1.3 million will be needed for operations. The money accumulated for Jan Platt is only $ 1.2-1.3 million. Monies continue to accumulate for the Jan Platt Library.

Joe explained further that, when the Jan Platt Library is built and paid for, it will be necessary to decide what to do with any leftover monies. He said he hoped the Board would consider buying the extra land for expansion. Helen Swisshelm asked if the additional land could come out of the .1 mill. Joe said "yes--if monies remain from capital."

Helen Swisshelm asked what the Library's millage is currently. Becky Milburn responded that it is .6423. This brings in approximately $17.1 million gross (excluding the required 5% margin).

Helen asked how much goes into reserves for the Library. Becky said it depends on how much is spent. Helen asked if THPL has any money left over at this point in time. Becky said there was approximately $451,000 including contingency. Joe pointed out that the Library Board has always wanted up to $1 million in contingency. The trend in recent years has been to stay away from spending contingency funds.

Becky said she estimated that the Library has budgeted $3.9 million for Character 30 (Operating Expenses). She said she didn't anticipate spending more than $3.5-3.6 million. She pointed out that budgeted amounts and expenditures would never balance.

Helen Swisshelm noted that $17.1 million was brought in; however, the Library's budget for last year was over $18 million. Joe said the rest was covered by State Aid and grants. Helen commented that the Library couldn't manage without State Aid and grants. Joe responded that the Library could manage but something would have to be cut. The only big pot would be the book budget. He added that there was a $5 million increase in State Aid for FY99. THPL could get even more if the new Interlocal Cooperative Agreement is implemented. Unless the Governor vetoes the budget, THPL will have more money than before from the state.

Becky summarized the millage rates for the last few years:

  • 1993      .4481
  • 1994      .6303 (with the .1181 millage increase)
  • 1996      .6423

Helen asked if the ad valorem taxes would bring in more this year. Becky said she expected that to be the case. Last year the millage for FY98 was $17.1 million. For FY99 it is projected to go up by approximately $58,000 to $17.149 million.

Joe said it is projected that the Library will bring in approximately $255,000 in fines in FY99. Another $35,000 will come from rents and royalties and $37,500 from the sale of weeded materials. Other than State Aid and grants there is not a lot of outside income. Dora Reeder commented that she thought the Friends of the Library sold weeded materials. Joe said "no" and explained that they sell books received as donations.

Helen pointed out that the Budget Committee noted the high cost budgeted for maintenance. When the Library pays over $1 million per year in maintenance, they questioned why buildings such as West Tampa could be allowed to deteriorate. She suggested that this item be monitored closely.

The Library Board thanked Becky for all her work on behalf of the Library through the years and congratulated her on her retirement.

Public Art:

Joe Stines said he had received a report from Jan Stein. A bench for the outside of the building has been suggested. The facility will open June 14; however, the public art will not be in place.


Joe called attention to the newspaper articles in the handouts and asked everyone to read them.


Dora Reeder mentioned that the "Dinner in the Stacksquot; would be held at ADL on Friday, May 15th at 6:30 PM. Joe encouraged everyone to attend. All agreed that it is a beautiful event every year.

Joe said the Port Tampa Gala would be coming up Saturday, May 16.


The meeting was adjourned at 6:06pm

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: May 28, 1998
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: Northwest Regional Library

                 - Unless notified otherwise

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