Library cost challenge

Mirror Park skate park has proved extremely popular with families and young people.
Mirror Park skate park has proved extremely popular with families and young people.

‘The cost savings in the special projects area are not possible in future years (without dropping the projects altogether) and the costs savings at the community centre are also one-off,’ a council report said.

Cottesloe, Mosman Park and Peppermint Grove councils run the $16.5 million precinct comprising the library, community centre and shire offices where operations are being reviewed after claimed failure of several of cutting-edge cooling, recycling and computer systems.

At Cottesloe Council’s May meeting, staff said the precinct’s overall operating costs rose 2.92 per cent, including water bills up 6 per cent, power 4 per cent and wages 4 per cent in the past 12 months.

‘This is a remarkable achievement given that the biggest costs of the library (staff, cleaning and utilities) have all had ‘built-in’ costs above that figure,’ staff said.

Chief executive Carl Askew said the special projects, such as the awards, were not covered in the normal operating budget and their future costs were not known because they were decided on annually.

The $577,760 allocated to the library by councillors in Cottesloe’s draft 2013-14 budget includes the 1.9 rise for the library’s maintenance, special projects and community centre.

Mr Askew is the council’s representative on The Grove review, a group that is expected to meet soon for the first time.

‘Any major upgrades or enhancements would be decided on a case by case basis,’ he said.

Mosman Park’s draft budget allocates an additional 3 per cent on the $636,623 it spent on The Grove in 2012-13.