Second part from the panel discussion at the Montana Library Association's 2013 annual meeting. The discussion focused on the Fall 2012 AG opinion related to how counties fund public libraries and the various roles of County Commissions and Library Boards in determining the level of funding and how those dollars are spent.

The Attorney General’s opinion impacts our understanding of public library board powers when it comes to the library’s budget. In the past the library board has been seen as the final authority when it comes to the library’s budget, but this opinion states that MCA 7-6 -4035 overrides that authority and gives the local governing body final authority over the approval of the library budget and mill levies. The opinion does confirm that library boards have sole discretion in the use of reserve funds and is also the final authority on individual line items within the budget.

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