EUGENE, Ore. — Eugene’s City Manager is suggesting cuts to local libraries to help make up for a budget shortfall in the next fiscal year, but he says there’s still a good possibility that all the branches could stay open.
City Manager Jon Ruiz told the budget committee Wednesday night that closing the Sheldon branch library and reducing hours at the main library downtown would save the city about $650,000.
Though it’s not an ideal situation, Library Director Connie Bennett says library professionals actually worked with the city to develop the plan.
With his recommendations, Ruiz said it’s possible the city could use a one-time fee from its reserve to fund the Sheldon branch for one more year, giving the community time to come up with a long-term plan.
Bennet says she supports the idea and hopes that over the course of the year, voters will come together to pass a levy to support all of the library’s branches.
“I think it’s short-sighted to totally close Sheldon Branch, let the lease go, lay off the staff and then in a year later, come up with funding,” Bennett said.
In the City Manager’s plan, the Bethel branch would stay open; the trade-off would be cutting Sunday mornings at the downtown library.
Bennett says the community actually passed a library levy about 15 years ago.
She hopes all the people who have come out to support the branches over the past few months will speak up with their votes in the coming year.
The Eugene budget committee is set to decide on a final budget plan for fiscal year 2015 by March 11.