INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The Mid-Continent Library Board of Trustees held a budget and levy public hearing Friday morning at the North Independence Library.
The library system is pushing a deadline for budget approval. If the library’s board of trustees does not agree on a budget, it could mean major library closures. The deadline is June 30th.
MCPL System has more than 30 libraries in the three counties, serving Jackson, Clay and Platte.
“I’m pretty confident that we’re going to adopt a budget. But I will say that if it does, if we cannot adopt a budget, we cannot operate the libraries, there’s no way to do that, because we have to have the funds to do it,” John Laney, a Board of Trustees Member representing Jackson County, said.
The Mid-Continent Public Library staff presented a $84.5 million overall budget to the board of trustees. Nearly $60 million of that goes to personnel, operations, and materials.
However, the board’s finance committee chairman, Gordon Cook, did not support the proposal. Plus, there’s concern other board members will not approve the budget.
“You know, the one or two of the trustees have expressed the opinion that we ought to try to lower the budget even more,” Laney said.
Some residents believe politics is holding up the budget approval. Some were disappointed that several board members did not attend Friday’s meeting. The MCPL Board of Trustees are not required to attend. Many say they just want a budget approved before it is too late.
“I just would really want to urge that you don’t close these libraries. These are safe places for our children,” one resident told FOX4.
The Board of Trustees will take up the budget at a meeting scheduled on June 21 at 5 p.m. at MCPL Administrative Headquarters.