Ask the Budget Guy | 2013-14


Why is the city building a new library at taxpayer expense with less square footage than what we currently have in the existing library in south Irving?

Although the number of square feet planned for the South Library is less than that of the current Central Library, the current library’s collection will be accommodated in its entirety at the new location. In addition, technology enhancements are planned to increase the patron’s learning and interactivity and also to accommodate changing needs. Also, the South Library plans to address feedback based on customer concerns from the Central Library. Following are some examples:
  • Power Outlets–A large number of patrons come to the library to access free wireless Internet service. Unfortunately, the only power outlets at the Central library are located along the walls and are limited in number. Patrons are frequently found sitting on the floor using their device since that is the only place they have found an available outlet. All of the tables at the South Library will have power outlets.
  • Study Rooms–The Central Library has four small study rooms that are open above their six foot walls. This affords limited space and privacy. Large study groups are frequently turned away due to not having a large enough room or one that will allow discussions without disturbing others. The South Library will have six study rooms that can accommodate a variety of groups of up to eight people. The rooms will have walls to the ceiling and Smart boards that allow people to show presentations and take notes or diagram ideas.
  • Meeting Rooms–The Central Library has one large meeting facility, the auditorium, and a small children's program room. This causes frequent scheduling conflicts. The South Library will have a very large meeting room that can be divided up into four separate rooms so that multiple programs can be scheduled for the same time. The space also will be available for community groups.
  • Teen Area–At Central, teens have a small amount of space between the adult fiction and children's areas. The South Library will have a larger, enclosed teen area featuring progressive technologies that will meet the demand for this age group.
  • Quiet Atmosphere–Complaints are received daily about the sound level at Central. Measures have been drafted to ensure that this will be addressed at the South Library. For example, the children's area will be glassed in and the second floor will feature a quiet reading room for those who wish to read or study in a quiet atmosphere.
Residents are invited to view the South Library floor plans by visiting For questions, contact Library Director Chris Dobson at (972) 721-2628.

Posted June 4

What is the breakdown between electricity, water and natural gas? What is the current rate of electricity at KWH?

The table below illustrates actual usage and cost for each utility component for 10-11:
    Utility Type Usage General Fund $ Other Funds $ Total
    Natural Gas (Atmos) 29,400 MCF $179,949 $17,196 $197,145
    Electricity 68,937,718 KWH $4,872,400 $4,528,711 $9,401,111
    Water 216,801,000 Gal $556,051 $77,279 $633,330
    Total $5,608,400 $4,623,186 $10,231,586
The current KWH is $0.06554 and provided by Nextera Energy (formerly Gexa Energy). The city is currently renegotiating a new contract with the service provider to obtain a lower rate. The utilities category includes water, electricity, natural gas and telecommunications. In the proposed FY 11-12, General Fund budget, $4,100,000 is budgeted for electricity, $250,000 for natural gas and $495,000 for water. The remaining balance is for telecommunications.

A municipal energy usage report is published every year and can be found on the city’s website in the Financial Services department at

Posted July 2