Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries: It's Complicated

Strings attached to city money.

Some county commissioners talking takeover.

Link to June 9 Charlotte Observer article, "City money helps, but library still at risk".

Excerpt:   The city offer is contingent on several things: a $1.4 million credit from the county on the joint city-county ledger (don't ask); and four of the six Mecklenburg towns must also offer support.

Last week Mecklenburg County commissioners agreed to reduce the libraries' proposed cut by $3.5 million. They also put strings on the money, such as requiring library trustees to consider consolidating some operations with county government. And the county's list suggests "consideration" for "reinventing the public library."

The city's list of requirements includes meeting the county requirements.

All this takes place amid questions, mostly off the record, among elected officials about whether the library is well run. The library system is separately chartered under state law and run by appointed trustees, though it gets more than 90 percent of its money from the county. "This might be good for them," District 6 council member Andy Dulin said Monday, before voting against the library money.

Some county commissioners are talking takeover. Late Monday, commissioner Karen Bentley e-mailed the county attorney asking, "Does the BOCC [board of county commissioners] have the authority to disband the current Library Board? ... What would have to occur in order for the BOCC to bring the library system under temporary County leadership?"

Related articles:
Mayor wins straw vote at emotional council meeting.  (6/7/2010)
Editorial:  Should city 'stay in its lane' on libraries.  (6/4/2010)
County commissioners restore some cuts to libraries.  (6/4/2010)
Straw votes begin on Mecklinburg County budget.  (6/3/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries continue to look for one-time financial help.  (5/31/2010)
High school junior speaks out eloquently for libraries.  (5/30/2010)
Mayor Foxx on the art of governing.  (5/30/2010)
Mayor supports financial help for library.  (5/27/2010)
County budget:  Oh, yeah, this is fair.  (5/25/2010)
Bailout proposal not gaining traction.  (5/23/2010)
Library trustees vote to close 4 branches.  (5/20/2010)
Mecklenburg County tightens its belt.  (5/20/2010)
County manager cuts $14.7 million from library budget.  (5/18/2010)
2010-11 Mecklenburg County budget to be unveiled today.  (5/18/2010)
North Carolina woman plans on "going straight to the top" to keep Charlotte libraries open.  (5/16/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg officials ask local municipalities for $3 million contribution.  (4/30/2010)
Library Board chair speaks out.  (4/25/2010)
County commissioners seek ways to ease library cuts.  (4/23/2010)
Mecklenburg County needs to reduce $85-90 million deficit.  (4/16/2010)
County manager takes library board to task.  (4/10/2010)
Libraries now open fewer hours.  (4/6/2010)
"Save Our Libraries Sunday".  (3/29/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg users owe average of 55 cents in fines.  (3/27/2010)
Library announces new hours for branches.  (3/26/2010)
Library Board applies a Band-Aid to its bleeding system.  (3/25/2010)
Follow-up on Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board vote.  (3/25/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board votes to keep all branches open.  (3/24/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board presented with 2 budget-cutting alternatives.  (3/24/2010)
More and bigger cuts looming on horizon. (3/23/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library System Rethinks Closings. (3/22/2010)
A New Day is Dawning in Charlotte/Mecklenburg County. (3/21/2010)

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