Sunday, August 8, 2010
Fort Worth Library Threatened with Budget Cuts for 2010-11 Fiscal Year
Link to August 8 Dallas News article, "Fort Worth's projected budget gap may hurt city's libraries, community centers".
Excerpt: Blakemore's drive to transform her neighborhood will only get harder as Fort Worth faces a projected $73 million budget gap for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
Much of the budget, including contracts for police and firefighters as well as operating costs for institutions such as the Fort Worth Zoo, is locked in for the next fiscal year. So as City Council members balance the budget, they'll have to consider libraries, community centers and pools.
The council and administrators are looking at everything from combining agencies to layoffs and outsourcing some services, Mayor Mike Moncrief said. City officials will present a proposed budget – and probably cuts – at Tuesday's council meeting.
"All of these are very, very tough calls for this council," Moncrief said. "It is going to test our political courage."
Fort Worth has closed six of its seven swimming pools this year, and community centers must shut down whenever employees take their eight furlough days to help cover the $59 million gap in this fiscal year's $528 million budget. The mowing of vacant lots was scaled back from every 21 days to every 45 days this year, city spokeswoman Veronica Villegas said.
Libraries, which faced cutbacks two years ago, were spared this year after an outcry from residents. But some officials doubt that libraries can escape the next fiscal year given the projected shortfall.