Use of State Aid
State Aid to Public Libraries awards are disbursed after the applying municipality and its library have demonstrated that they are meeting the Municipal Appropriation Requirement and the other statutory and regulatory minimum standards for free public library services (M.G.L. c.78, s.19A & 19B; 605 C.M.R. 4.00). Compliance with the requirement and the minimum standards is measured on the State Aid to Public Libraries application forms submitted annually by the library.
State Aid to Public Libraries has always been listed as an offset item on the annual Cherry Sheet distributed by the Department of Revenue. Because of this classification as an offset item, state aid received by a municipality under the authority of this program can be spent without appropriation. In addition, state budget language signed by the governor at the beginning of each fiscal year specifies that "any payment made under this appropriation [State Aid to Public Libraries] shall be deposited with the treasurer of such city or town and held as a separate account and shall be expended by the public library of such city or town without appropriation." The awards may be used for any library expenditure.
Because State Aid to Public Libraries awards are funds not able to be appropriated by the municipality, are solely for library expenditures and are subtracted from the municipalities' gross appropriations to help determine the local property tax levy, these awards cannot be used by the municipality as a revenue source to meet the Municipal Appropriation Requirement.
Unspent or unencumbered state aid monies must be carried forward into the next fiscal year for expenditure by the library. Interest earned on these monies however, is a general fund revenue under M.G.L. c.44, s.53, and must be returned to the city or town.
Purchases of materials made with State Aid to Public Libraries monies (public funds) are subject to the Uniform Procurement Act, M.G.L., c. 30B. In addition, disposition of materials and other personal property purchased with public funds is subject to the rules generally governing the disposition of municipal personal property. Bylaws and ordinances allowing department heads to dispose of town personal property are authorized by M.G.L. c. 40, s. 21(11). The Uniform Procurement Act, M.G.L., c. 30B, s. 15, governs such dispositions of municipal property.