Rising library costs mean Delta may opt out of FVRL

DELTA – Delta is once again looking at separating from the Fraser Valley Regional Library to run its own system.

The issue came up on Feb. 16 as civic politicians considered the latest budget increase, which would see Delta’s portion of the regional library tab go up by 3.91 per cent to $3.4 million, an increase of more than $127,000 over last year.

Delta comes in at the higher end of the spectrum of the 14 FVRL members with only Langley Township ($3.86 million) and Abbotsford ($3.83 million) paying more.

“Our staff are quite frustrated with the percentage increases that seem to roll in each year,” said chief administrative officer George Harvie.

Coun. Ian Paton pointed out that library costs are rising faster than Delta’s property tax bills. In 2013 property taxes went up by 1.9 per cent, while the FVRL’s increase came in at 2.65 per cent; last year Delta once again hiked taxes by 1.9 per cent while the FVRL’s increase came in at 2.26 per cent.

Paton estimated that Delta’s portion of the FVRL budget has gone up by more than 14 per cent in the last fives years -a more than $500,000 increase. He said the money is going into a communal fund that’s used to fund libraries throughout the region and isn’t all necessarily being used for Delta’s three public libraries.

Delta looked at leaving the Fraser Valley Regional Library in 1997, but a referendum question at that time was defeated by a 60/40 margin.

Delta council passed a motion Monday to direct staff to look into opting out of FVRL.

“I think it would be an interesting idea to look into that,” Paton said. jkerr@delta-optimist.com

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