Mayor Alvin Brown will submit his budget on July 14 at 9 a.m. in City Council Chambers. At that time, we will learn whether his budget includes any cuts for the library, or more positively, any of the increases requested by the Board of Library Trustees in its Fund the Future proposal.
“After enduring nine years of budget cuts, it is time to move forward and revitalize library services,” said Board Chair Dr. Brenda Simmons-Hutchins. “The board believes funding our libraries properly will properly fund the future of Jacksonville.”
The Fund the Future proposal is built upon the premise that the current library services will remain intact. In addition to the existing library services, key elements of the plan include:
- building back hours of service which were cut 22 percent in FY ‘13 to their lowest level since the Better Jacksonville Plan.
- restoring funds to the library materials budget, which has been cut 45 percent since 2005.
- increasing access in the unserved Northeast region of Jacksonville.
The proposal does not bring the library to a full level of service, but is intended as a first step in a multi-year plan that envisions annual cost increases to fully restore and equip the library for 21st century demands.
“The board strongly believes in education and the value of the library system in this community,” explained Dr. Simmons-Hutchins. “We want the citizens of Jacksonville to have the best library system possible and we believe that the enhancements we outline in the Fund the Future proposal will move the library system in that forward direction.”
Following the mayor’s submission of the budget, the City Council will hold hearings with opportunities for public comment. The City Council must approve the budget prior to October 1, the first day of the fiscal year.
Your opinions matter to our mayor and city council members. You can share your views on the budget with them by phone or email or by attending public hearings. Thank you for your ongoing support of your libraries!