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State funding for library sought

LAWRENCEVILLE — After taking a $1 million hit to the budget of the Gwinnett County Public Library, officials are hoping to avoid another loss to state funds.

County government leaders showed support this week to the system in an application to keep its state funding intact despite a policy that the service’s primary funding source does not cut its budget.

Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash cut the system’s funding by $1 million earlier this year, but said the state would be “hypocritical” to penalize the library system, since it also had to cut its funding due to the down economy in recent years.

“They need to be flexible,” Nash said, adding that governments across the state have been forced to lower funding levels due to shrinking tax bases since the recession began.

The 15-branch library system was granted a similar waiver in 2011 after the county was forced to cut its funds.

Library board Chairman Dick Goodman said the impact of the state partnership is even greater than the $1.1 million it provides to the system’s operating budget, which is only about 5 percent of the system’s $18.2 million budget.

Without that tie, the library would have to invest in about $1.5 million worth of research databases the state makes available, and the system would not be eligible for grants that assist with capital expenses. In recent years, the grants have included money for a renovation of the Five Forks branch and $2 million for the construction of the Hamilton Mill branch.

“It’s so significant in this environment,” Goodman said of the state support, quoting a saying. “A million dollars here, a million dollars there; pretty soon, you are talking about real money. … It’s very important.”

Comments

Say_What 8 months, 2 weeks ago

You tell 'em, Charlotte. Only the BOC and their pal Goodman are allowed to hamstring the library around here.

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kevin 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Isn't it strange that since the BOC got rid of the past library president, they increased the county funding for the library. Have to wonder if the library president's firing wasn't a setup all along. She should look into a lawsuit.

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MaryHarmon5 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Nash calls someone else hypocritical...really? How's the search going for a new Director? What ever happened to the report the Commissioners paid for...the Ivy Group. It would be interesting to see how much they paid the Ivy Group, how much they are going to pay to find a new Director and let's toss in the package to get rid of the former Director. Love the comments by Kevin and Say_What! Keep digging Camie...

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CullenBohannon 8 months, 1 week ago

So Ms. Nash thinks it is okay to cut $1,000,000 from the library's budget and then she is shocked that the State won't make it up? Wow...I believe this isn't a new procedure; however, since neither she nor Mr. Goodman understand the ins/outs of how the system works, I imagine she is shocked and trying put the blame on someone else - the State. News flash, Charlotte - the state won't put more money into a system that the commissioners obviously don't consider important. Do you honestly think it is the responsibility of the State of Georgia to make up the shortfall for all of the public libraries? So, when are you going to give the $1,000,000 to Mr. Goodman so y'all can look like heroes and extend the library hours. No books, but you're welcome to come in an browse the empty shelves.

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