The last time funding additional library hours was before the El Cerrito City Council the El Cerrito Library community rallied in support of access to our library in a huge way submitting over 70 public comments of support.
Now it is time for a repeat performance because library hours are in danger again.
At the March 16th El Cerrito City Council meeting, the City manager responded to City Council direction to show the possible impacts of either a 1 million or a 2 million dollar reduction in the upcoming 2021-22 City General Fund budget.
The following Expense Reduction Options were presented:
- Outsourcing certain services
- Reducing City support for expanded Library hours
- Reduce/eliminate support for Recreation programs
- Decrease Fire Department response/services
- Decrease Police Department response/services
- Decrease maintenance Citywide
In the weeks between now and June 30, the City will continue to discuss the City’s financial plans in many settings:
1) A Concurrent Budget Townhall and Special City Council Meeting at 10:00 am on Saturday April 10
2) Regular Financial Advisory Board meetings (7:00 p.m., 2nd Tuesday of each month)
3) A Budget Study Session (Date [probably in May] TBD)
4) A Fiscal Recovery Plan discussion (Date TBD)
5) Regular City Council Meeting Budget Hearings typically held in late May and early June each year
How these meetings will be held in light of the Covid situation is an open question. It is most likely they will be virtual meetings accessible through a computer connection via the Internet.
The Foundation will inform you when specific dates for these meetings are scheduled, but please don’t wait until then to prepare your comments: 1) On how any reduction in our Library hours would affect you, your family, or vital community access, and 2) to request continuation of City funding of at least six additional hours per week to maintain the current library hours.
This year, when the City receives over 4 million dollars in new Federal assistance from the recently passed Covid Relief bill and when the Contra Costa County Supervisors have decided to increase County support for library hours to 40 hours per week because of their belief that such services are vital, it is not a time El Cerrito should again be considering reducing library hours.
That’s why “We need your help – Again!” to keep the current library services available for all, especially those who most need them in our community.
Please send your comments to the City Council and the Financial Advisory Board for each of their meetings asking them to continue funding at least six additional hours of library services to maintain the current library schedule. Please note that the request for six extra hours involves approximately $50,000 less City money than for the past several years because the County is increasing its support for libraries county-wide.
Details on how to submit your public comments, either live at a virtual meeting, or written in advance of a meeting, can be found here. (This link will download a PDF file of instructions.) For more information on public comments, please contact the El Cerrito City Clerk at email@example.com or 510-215-4305.