Library MOU approved

When budgets were being prepared in 2019 for the 2020 year, it was apparent that Library management was not clear on what the Town would pay for and what the Library should include in their budget. Things like heating systems, managing tenders and maintenance of the grounds and building were not clearly the responsibility of either the Library or the Town so budgeting was difficult. The Library is funded mostly by the Town (69%) but also by the Township of Hamilton (23%) and some small Provincial grants but the main building is in Cobourg and owned by the Town. In November 2019, the Library asked that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) be prepared that would spell out who was responsible for what.

After a lot of work by the Library Board and Town Staff, at the Committee of the Whole meeting on May 31, 2021, Council approved an MOU.

MOU Highlights

General agreements

  • Since the Town owns the building, the Library pays rent – this is a nominal $2 per year.
  • Insurance is a joint policy with the Town and is paid by the Town.  The Town then invoices the Library for their share.  Any groups holding events at the Library must have their own insurance.
  • The Library must manage their own staff but staff must abide by the Town’s policies, rules and procedures.
  • Bottled water must not be sold on Library premises. Alcohol is only permitted at events with a Special Occasion Permit.

Town responsibilities

Cobourg Library
Cobourg Library – file photo
  • Manage the Facility for a flat rate of $1250 per month. This includes grounds maintenance and routine minor building maintenance.
  • Provision and maintain “heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting, water, sewer, elevator and fire alarm system, sprinkler system, emergency lighting and fire extinguisher monthly and annual inspections.”
  • Remove waste off-site.
  • Administer any tenders or RFPs.
  • Procure routine cleaning supplies and paper products and supply at cost to the Library.
  • Provide all signage.
  • Provide IT support services at $53 per hour.
  • Provide Human Resources (HR) assistance at no charge.
  • Provide support by Communication Department with a charge only for materials.

Library responsibilities

  • Hire and monitor cleaning staff at Library cost.
  • Maintain all Library owned equipment.
  • May not alter, demolish, add to or reconstruct the facility without consent of the Town.
  • Pay for the Library financial audit.
  • Annual budget must have separate costs for providing library services and facility operation.

When the MOU was being discussed by Council, Councillor Nicole Beatty asked about the space in the Library currently used by the County Archives.  This operation will be moving to the new building currently being constructed by the County. Town Clerk Brent Larmer said that the Town plans to move some of its own archives out of the basement of Vic Hall. The archive space at the Library would be much more suitable.

With an MOU in place, it’s now clear who must pay for each expense.

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Dunkirk
2 June 2021 9:04 am

We all love our library!…Our Library basically, is a local resource that has marginal benefits that do not show up on a financial statement, but real costs that do. If the Library went to a bank for a loan it would never qualify….it pays staff $1mm a year…some insensitive people would classify this as a luxury.
With this MOU, our elected Town representatives have selected to continue supporting the $1mm of wage expenses with no commitment to any tangible service metrics. (how many people visit? How many members per million$ expense? etc..)Just more pleasant well-read people, always available, who can explain the nuances of Milton & Dante to a hungry public that needs to know…
When other local funding opportunities present themselves, we should all understand that we may not have money for them because we are paying $1mm in salaries to those people at the library–that’s what our Councilors have prioritized. That’s what they should say…
Meanwhile, the transfer of the local archives up to the new GPL has attracted $6mm in funding for their similar value proposition overlooking the Mall parking lot in the lovely shade of our water tower. What could our library have become with an additional $6mm?