Two libraries slated to close

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Maxville Branch Library  (left) and Brentwood Branch Library (right) will close if the current library budget is approved by City Council on Sept. 24.

The City Council Finance Committee held a hearing Aug. 28 on the library’s budget for Fiscal Year 2014.  The Committee voted against closing four of the six libraries proposed for closure in the mayor’s budget, keeping open the following:  Willowbranch, San Marco, University Park, and the Beaches Branch Libraries.  In addition, the following locations will remain open on Sundays:  Southeast, Webb Wesconnett, and Pablo Creek Regional Libraries, Highlands Branch Library, and the Main Library. 

However, the Committee approved the remainder of the budget reductions as proposed in the mayor’s budget, including closing the Maxville and Brentwood Branch Libraries, reducing the library materials funding by $173,370, and closing the Main Library an additional 8 hours per week, reducing the hours to 44 per week including Sundays.  The impact of these cuts will result in the elimination of 13 full-time positions and about a $900,000 reduction in the library’s budget.  

While the committee discussed the Board of Library Trustees’ proposal of a revised budget for the library, no action was taken to fund it.  You will recall the board requested a budget for FY 2014 of $35,214,635 rather than the budget of $31,420,190 as requested by the mayor.  This “lights on” budget proposal was essentially the budget we are operating under today plus Monday services at the four regional libraries.  

According to city ordinance, a public hearing is required for the closing or change of use of fire stations or libraries. The timeline for that hearing is being discussed by the City Council and members of the mayor’s administration. As soon as we know more details about a public hearing we will post the information to our website, Facebook page and blog.

The final decision on the budget is still pending; the Finance Committee’s recommendation will go before the full City Council for a vote on Sept. 24.  The approved budget becomes effective Oct. 1.  On Sept. 10 and Sept. 24, the Council will meet beginning at 5 p.m., at which time the public has the opportunity to make statements about the proposed budget. To do so, a speaker’s card must be filled out before the meeting begins to be allotted three minutes to speak directly to the Council. Customers may also contact City Council members via email or phone. Contact information is available here.  

Thank you for your ongoing support of your libraries!

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