Atlantic City Administrator Doug Harris says the City isn’t receiving its fair share of funds from the County for the Public Library. Harris said he’s been looking at how services the City pays for are used by Cass County residents and vice-versa. He says looking at the circulation numbers at the library, and the population numbers in comparing what Atlantic gets from the County in support of the library, as compare to the other cities in the County, the “Fair Share” from the rural customers would be almost $72,000. Harris says since the residents of Atlantic contribute to 30% of the County tax bill, the County would have to contribute almost $103,000 for the rural customers to pay their $72,000. The City receives just $13,000 from the County. He says looking at other cities in the County, based on circulation at their libraries, the County funds an average of $4.42 per capita, whereas in Atlantic, the County is only funding 73-cents.
Harris says if the county funded the City of Atlantic at $4.42, then the County would be contributing $78,526 to the City. Based on population, he says, the County has been funding at $15.57 per capita, but the City only gets $1.83. If Atlantic were to be funded on a per capita basis, that would amount to $110,703. Doug Harris says it appears the County is funding what would be our fair share for the other cities in the County, but the Atlantic Public Library is being “Underfunded.” Harris says he’s not sure how that happened, or why, but the City provides a lot of services to rural residents, such as a subsidy for the Nishna Valley YMCA, which the County residents can use at the same price as City residents. Harris says “We’re getting to the point where the City residents really can’t shoulder all that burden. The costs need to be more fairly allocated between County and City residents.”
He says the issue will have to be discussed between the City Council and the County Commissioners and/or Board of Supervisors. Harris said the Supervisors may not even be aware of the disparity.