Libraries Respond to Proposed Budget Cuts

State and Regional Library officials recently sent a warning to Coffee County officials after the Budget and Finance Committee proposed a less than 1.4 percent reduction to the county libraries’ budget. Coffee County Library Board Chairwoman Kathy Rose informed last week’s budget meeting and said that the library received notification from the Regional Director, Betty Jo Jarvis, that the 39,000 patrons of the library stand to lose a substantial number of services from the state and regional library if we try to cut our budget by even as little as $12,100. She asked the committee to put the money back.
She distributed a letter that stated that due to the Maintenance of Effort clause requiring local government to fund and expend amount equal to or greater than prior years, the county had to fund the libraries at the same level as last year. The county’s director of Budgets and Accounts, Marianna Edinger, said she found it hard to believe that such a huge number of services would be cut over a mere $12,100 reduction in the total library budget of $878,235. While no action was taken at the meeting, Edinger said she would research the matter prior to the upcoming meeting of the full commission at tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at the Coffee County Plaza.