Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

Commissioners debate closing two libraries to trim next year's budget

DADE CITY — Yielding to calls and emails from Pasco citizens to cut spending, County Commissioners on Tuesday discussed whether to close the Centennial Park and New River libraries.

The discussion occurred during a budget workshop. Commissioners are trying to trim next year's budget after citizens complained about a possible 7.8-percent increase in the aggregate millage rate.

Commissioners asked county staff to look into how much savings could be achieved by closing the two libraries.

The Centennial Park and New River libraries, two of eight county libraries were chosen based on their proximity to other libraries, officials said.

Centennial Park, which was brought up for closing a couple years ago, is near the South Holiday Library. The New River Library is close to the Zephyrhills Library.

Commissioners were divided on whether to close the libraries. Commission Chairman Ted Schrader said that unless the libraries are closed, commissioners could be forced to make more difficult budget choices.

Closing the branches would save an estimated $840,979 a year in operating expenses, though that doesn't take into account employees who might transfer to other libraries.

Staff is working on a more detailed analysis to reflect those changes. That analysis is due back to commissioners on Aug. 13.

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