In West Dade Regional Library's auditorium, library supporters gathered to speak about the future of libraries.
The Consultant hired by the County, listened to the crowd, and explained the history of the millage, and noted this: that with our current revenue coming in, and the $800,000 book budget, our library system could not be run. Our reserves had been tapped out -- and it was but a band-aid used to keep the Library afloat.
A calculation of the necessary millage to restore funding was announced: at least a 90 - 95% increase from .17 mills.
Yet -- is it really a doubling in library tax? When you think about the abysmal funding that the Library has undergone these past few years, an increase would only be a restoration of funding.
Such was the sentiment that rose from the everyone in the group who could not believe that the Library, a valued and vital community resource, was at this point.
Jeff Donnelly, former Chair, Miami-Dade Library Advisory Board, pointed out that funds used in the reserves over the past few years were not savings -- they were intended for improvements, not for operational costs, so that we could maintain and improve our facilities and services -- so that there wouldn't be a broken air conditioner and vents running out of West Dade Regional Library. As it stands, there is no money for maintenance of any facility.
One library supporter, informed the crowd that the Library [Taxing] District has been disproportionately funded. Another library supporter declared that there seemed to be no support at all from the Mayor to keep our libraries functioning.
Liz, a teacher who rallied over the summer for libraries, also reiterated this fact: the Library's budget is less than 1% of the entire County's. Time and energy is simply being wasted when there is only one solution.
We're gunning for .375 -- to maintain and enhance services for our community.
Spread the word.
There's still one more chance to be a part of the focus group. RSVP here.