Mayor Alvin Brown presented his Fiscal Year 2014 budget to the City Council July 15. Faced with a $64 million shortfall, departments citywide have been required to take significant cuts and that includes the Jacksonville Public Library. The library’s budget as submitted by the mayor to the Council would be $31,420,192. This reflects a reduction of $2,896,659 from the current year, and is $517,801 more than the cut the Administration requested in June.
In order to meet this reduction, the following recommendations submitted by the Board of Library Trustees in June remain as proposed:
- No Sunday hours at any location (five locations are currently open on Sundays)
- A reduction of eight hours of service at the Main Library (down to 40 hours per week)
- The closure of six branches: Maxville Branch Library; Brentwood Branch Library; San Marco Branch Library; Willowbranch Branch Library; University Park Branch Library; and Beaches Branch Library. These closures and the reduction in hours at the Main Library will result in the elimination of 33 full-time positions.
The materials budget was cut by $173,370.
The difference between the amount of reduction asked of the library some weeks ago and the actual reduction taken in the mayor’s budget as proposed today to the Council is related to a greater than expected reduction in the indirect costs charged by the city to the library. The indirect costs support centralized city functions.
The budget as the mayor submitted it is available online at: http://www.coj.net/my-jax-budget/docs/proposed-budget-fy-2013-2014.aspx. The text of the mayor’s address this morning can be found at: http://www.coj.net/my-jax-budget/docs/7-15-13budgetfinal.aspx.
The mayor’s budget now is in the hands of the City Council. Customers who don’t want to see libraries closed should contact City Council members. The full Council votes on the budget September 24; the effective date for any changes due to the new budget is October 1, the first day of Fiscal Year 2014. A public hearing must be held by the mayor and City Council prior to the closing of any libraries or fire stations.