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    Councilmembers O'Donnell & Reyes Uranga Agendize Council Item Asking City Mgr. To Explore Funding Sources To Keep Libraries Open One Add'l Day Per Week In Time For Fall Academic Year

    (February 3, 2006) -- Councilmembers Patrick O'Donnell & Tonia Reyes Uranga have agendized an item for the February 7th Council meeting asking the City Manager to "explore funding sources to keep the City of Long Beach Public Libraries open one additional day a week in time for the Fall Academic Year."

    The item follows a January 10th Council vote (9-0) declining to put a residential parcel [property] tax on the April 2006 city ballot to generate library funds. In their Sept. 2005 city budget approvals, Councilmembers voted to accept a management recommendation to reduce library funding...a move that closed libraries for additional days and riled community members.

    Having the LB libraries open "in time for the Fall Academic Year" would efffectively coincide with the run-up to a November 2006 election.

    On January 10th, several Councilmembers voiced conern that an April 2006 library tax might undermine taxpayer willingness to approve a City Hall-contemplated November 2006 ballot measure that would seek a half-cent sales tax increase for police funding. Councilmembers O'Donnell and Reyes Uranga sound a parallel theme in their February 7th agendizing memo:

    "Before we ask our citizens to support a public safety measure in November, we must assure them that we have not abandoned our children and our neighborhoods. Our quality of life cannot be maintained without accessible neighborhood libraries," they write in part to their Council colleagues.

    We post the memo text in full below:

    The City of Long Beach takes pride in its commitment to public education: the renowned LBUSD, LB College District and CSULB assure that Long Beach residents have access to all levels of educational within our city limits. Our formal education system is augmented by our libraries, which provide our children and our neighborhoods with valuable resources for information and educational enrichment.

    The development of a healthy and safe city is contingent upon access to resources such as our neighborhood libraries. The City Managerís Three-Year Plan, implemented with City Council support, necessitated the sacrifice of core city services - including our public library system. We must work with the city manager to direct city savings toward restoring this essential community resource.

    Recommendation: Request the City Manager to explore funding sources to keep the City of Long Beach Public Libraries open one additional day a week in time for the Fall Academic Year.

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