Supervisors address possible library closures

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

The possibility of county-wide library closures hung heavily over the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors at their June 1 meeting when county administrator Brian McDermott proposed to eliminate all but $50,000 from the library budget.

The proposal to cut funding to the 12 libraries was among many possible cuts that McDermott presented to the board in order to close a $3.7 million deficit in the 2010/2011 Fiscal Year Budget.

Following a lengthy discussion, the board voted to direct McDermott to budget a half-year of library operating costs for the Yreka library and the Mount Shasta, Dorris, and Etna branches.

The six-month period is intended to allow time for the four municipalities to determine alternative funding sources for the libraries.

Under this recommendation, the eight other branches in the county would likely close.

“It is no longer possible to not affect your constituents with these cuts,” McDermott said to the board. He noted that the idea is to cut funding to non-essential services, thereby reducing cuts to mandated county departments.

Opting to let the voters weigh in, the board also voted to look into placing a Transient Occupancy Tax  increase measure (for non-incorporated towns) on the November ballot to generate revenue for libraries.  

The budget hearing, originally set for June 15, was postponed until June 22 at 9 a.m. to allow time for further review of budget options.

More on this story will appear in the June 9 edition of Mount Shasta Area Newspapers.