Sunday, April 13, 2014

Miami-Dade Public Library System Faces Challenge of Managing $20 Million Budget Cut and Keeping All 49 Branches Open

Without more tax dollars, Miami-Dade library system would fire more than half its full-time staff. (Miami Herald, 4/10/2014)

Assuming a referendum will fail?  The draft budget assumes no increase in the coming fiscal year in the special property tax that funds the library system, which has been relying on cash reserves since 2010. The tax currently generates $30 million, but the library’s current budget is $50 million and cash reserves are forecast to be gone by the fall. Mayor Carlos Gimenez says he will not endorse higher taxes without a referendum, leaving library administrators to map out how they would manage a 40 percent drop in funding. 

The mayor received too much flak last year when he recommended closing "less popular" branches.

Related posts:
New Dade County administrators' plan: Keep all library branches open, slash hours of operation.  (8/28/2013)
The sustainable funding challenge.  (8/7/2013)
And throw in a few Little Free Libraries for good measure.  (7/20/2013)
Finally starting anew at the Aventura Northeast Branch Library.  (4/5/2012)
13 of 49 Miami-Dade County Public Library branches on chopping block.  (11/19/2011)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A straw poll vote with a $30 and $50 million budget, as dictated by County Mayor Gimenez, means the library cannot win, it can only lose. The current budget is $52 million. Locations allotted16 hours a week with no professional librarian are partial closures. It may say library on the outside sign but it won't be.

A WONDERFUL SPEECH to the Board of County Commission's Finance Committee
by Lisa Davis:

I am a former Miami Dade Public librarian, formerly the manager of California Club branch.

Fully funding MDPLS is not about me, my husband, or my former colleagues. We will survive the cuts and layoffs.

It is about my son not having a library to go to like I did growing up in Miami.

It is about my son not having books on the shelf to browse through and discover a passion for reading.

It is about my son not having a librarian to go to for help with his science fair projects and English essays.

Our Miami-Dade Public Library System provides these things, and it can, and did, do so much more.

I do not want my son to be told he is number 256 on the wait list for his required summer reading.

I do not want to have to hire a private tutor.

I do not want to buy tickets for him to experience storytelling.

I do not want to have nowhere to go on a Sunday when he tells me at the last minute he has a project due the next day.

I want our Miami Dade Public Library System to provide the services it used to provide.

Without an increase in funding, the libraries of your MDPLS will no longer be libraries. They will no longer be community centers of literacy, culture and information. They will be empty shells, void of books, void of Librarians, void of 21st Century technological resources.

Without funding, your MDPLS libraries will be dilapidated computer labs.

In preparation for addressing this committee I reviewed my family’s reading history for the last year and valued our checkouts of books, DVDs and music downloads at $1500.

In 2013, my family paid a library tax of $17.10, meaning that we received these services at 99% off their commercial value. And we did not even begin to scratch the surface of the services offered by our MDPLS; we did not take online language and software courses, we did not attend programs, we did not visit a museum – all library offerings I hope to be able to enjoy in the future. Even if you quadrupled the tax rate, increasing my family’s library tax to $68, my family would still have received those services at a 78% discount.

Our Miami Dade Public Library System is a bargain. But if the millage rate is not increased, your library will no longer be a bargain, it will no longer be a library, it will be empty dilapidated computer labs.

As a tax payer, I want the library millage rate increased to fully fund the Miami Dade Public Library System.

Please stop wasting my tax payer dollars to obtain reports that are not going to be followed.

Please do not waste my tax payer dollars on a vote to obtain permission to do what you already have the right to do as the elected leaders of this community: increase the Library’s millage rate to ensure MDPLS continues to provide public services that this community needs.

Please ensure that my son has a library to grow up in.

Thank you for your time.