March 4, 2015
County Departments are just about starting the budget crunch time once more...
From FY'14-'15 Budget Battle, the community's rally cry secured $53 million in operating funds for the Library taxing district: a combination of 'exchanging' the mills from Miami-Dade's Fire Department's taxing district to the Library's, and a minimal millage increase to .284.
With the increase in taxes, the Library has managed to provide several new services, from free online tutoring, to expanded hours and 7 day regional branches.
But in the end, after severe budget cuts from previous years, and hours not previously restored to what they were before 2011, there yet remains room to fight for more.
After all, if this is the only thing that Mayor Gimenez can say of the overall expansion of service from the Library in his State of the County then more funding is needed to continue to increase services:
"IN THE END, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PRESERVED
ESSENTIAL SERVICES, AVERTED HUNDREDS OF
LAYOFFS AND EVEN EXPANDED LIBRARY HOURS.
WE ALSO MADE SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENTS THAT
WILL BENEFIT FUTURE GENERATIONS OF COUNTY
AND WE DID THIS WHILE MAINTAINING TAX RATES
WHILE SOME ADVOCATED FOR SUBSTANTIALLY
RAISING TAXES TO SOLVE OUR FISCAL
CHALLENGES, I BELIEVED THEN AND CONTINUE TO
BELIEVE NOW THAT MIAMI-DADE COUNTY SHOULD
ONLY ENACT A TAX INCREASE IF IT IS ABSOLUTELY
NECESSARY. IN MY VIEW, THE COUNTY COULD
OPERATE MORE EFFICIENTLY WITHOUT
SACRIFICING ESSENTIAL SERVICES."
We should not be seeking to find ways to move forward "without sacrificing essential services" -- we should be moving the County forward in ways that allow us to grow and expand these services and invest in our community!
Join us again on July 15 as we enter the heat of the budget battle once more.
CALM, Community Advocates for Libraries in Miami: A Political Action Committee and open group for all supporters of the Miami-Dade Public Library System.
Our Mission is to be the collective proponents of full-funding for our Libraries so that they may be maintained and improved upon for the years to come.
49 library branches plus 2 bookmobiles serve the entire Miami-Dade County, and welcome all visitors through their doors--including over 7 million in 2012.
It is the belief of CALM that the Miami-Dade Public Libraries are not simply a hub of information and technology; our Libraries are the heart of our community, and our staff are the heart within them. Our Libraries provide access to culture, recreation, education, and encourage lifelong learning in all people.