City Manager Budget Recommendations

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EUGENE, Ore. — Changes could be coming to the Eugene Library and its branches if the Eugene Budget Committee approves the city manager’s recommended budget for fiscal year 2015. The city manager is recommending closing the Sheldon Library branch. But his suggestion doesn’t necessarily close the book on the library.

It’s possible the branch could still stay open if the budget committee allocates one time funds to pay for the library operations. When writing the story of Eugene’s 2015 budget, it starts with the books lining the shelves at the Sheldon Branch Library.

“The recommendation is to close the Sheldon Library,” said Jon Ruiz, Eugene City Manager.

Closing the branch would save the city $350,000 under Ruiz’ recommendation. He’s also suggesting to slash the hours at the main library to a half day on Sundays, which means another $300,000 in savings.

While the dollars are real, the potential impacts may be hard to realize. “I think we heard a lot from the community about the importance of branch libraries to neighborhoods and to the people who live in further regions of Eugene. At the same time, we know that the downtown library also provides a huge number of resources,” said Laura Illig, Eugene Budget Committee chair.

Mayor Kitty Piercy and a number of budget committee members stressed the importance of the library resources and branches, but say they have some sacrifices when balancing the budget in order to fill the $2.5 million gap.

Sacrifices that may seem extreme for some now, but there’s still plenty of time for revisions.

“I think it’s a viable option actually to use one time monies. To do so it would stay open. Perhaps move toward a library levy to see if the community would support it,” said Ruiz.

For the next few weeks the budget committee will continue to research the options before closing the book on another challenging budget cycle.

In this recommendation, public safety would not experience any funding cuts. The budget committee will take public comments on the budget on March 5th and plans on picking a budget plan by the 11th.

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