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Library board saves branches, seeks long-term fix

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The Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library board of trustees agreed Thursday to keep open two library branches targeted for closure next year.

Board members also outlined $2.5 million in proposed budget cuts for 2011 to help stem the growing gap between revenue and expenses.

The library system says it faces a revenue drop of more than $4 million per year due to property-tax reductions and lower total tax levies. It projected a $2 million deficit each year without some changes.

The board has been working since April to find solutions. It considered several options to reduce the deficit, including closing the Brightwood and Glendale branches next year and as many as four others in 2012.

Board President Thomas Shevlot acknowledged that the proposed cuts—which still must be approved by the board during its budgeting process next month—won’t resolve the situation long-term.

“It’s a Band-Aid approach,” he said. “We’ve been looking for any way possible to keep these branches from closing, to give us a little more breathing room. … We know these [cuts] will not sustain us well into the 21st Century.”

Among the proposed savings: $1 million in reduced spending on books and materials, $440,000 from eliminating 10 full-time positions and 11 part-time jobs, $311,000 from closing on Sundays from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and $440,000 from requiring employees to pay a portion of their retirement contributions.

Shevlot said the board still is evaluating long-term options, and he has had conversations with public officials about other ways to boost revenue. A referendum could ask voters to approve funding to buy library branches the system now leases, for example, or the City-County Council could opt to increase the library’s tax levy, which has been capped since 2005.

“There are a number of different things being looked at,” he said. “We’re going to spend the next few months digging into the options.”

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  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

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