Education Escambia County News Pensacola Politics

Library ‘Crisis’

April 11, 2012

According to Bette Hooten, president of the West Florida Library System, the regional collection of libraries are in “crisis mode.”

“I cannot tell you how frightened I am for this system,” she said.

Escambia County commissioners will consider if they will yank $3.7 million in funding from the library system. The move is in reaction to a recently passed law at the state level which retroactively charges counties for what state officials say are shortfalls in Medicaid bills going back to 2001—this resulted in a nearly $10 million shortfall for Escambia County.

“There are no easy answers,” said Escambia County Administrator Randy Oliver, explaining that the cut has to be made up somehow. “Difficult times require difficult solutions.”

Currently, Escambia County funds more than 70 percent of the library system’s budget. The city of Pensacola provides just under $2 million in funding.

The Escambia County Commission will consider how to handle the county budget shortfall and library funding April 12. The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. at the county’s downtown complex. Library supporters are expected to attend—wearing red shirts—en masse.

– check back at 4 p.m. today for the complete story

  • helpmehere April 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    this is a prime example of what is known as “mob rule”. Bring a big group to any city council or county commission meeting and you can stop government in its tracks. The irony of the pending completion of the new downtown library and the potential slashing of the library budget is just too rich for words. We continue to build new roads and buildings when we can’t even fund the operation and maintenance of the ones we already have. Go figure.

  • Ames April 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    This is how you “drown the US government in a bathtub” manufacture a heavy burden of debt then put that debt on a short deadline of payment. This reminds me of the manufactured debt hoisted on the USPS in 2006, requiring USPS to pay billions of dollars into their retirement fund to cover retired employes for the next 75 years. That fund the retirement funds for postal employees who haven’t even been born yet. See? Easy peasy.

  • eric April 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    It is shameful if the State did this to the counties without them seeing it coming. If they had, some of the infrastructure should have been planned differently.

    Mr. Oliver has a monumental task in front of him putting different alternatives to keeping the Library system viable to the County commissioners.

    Not funding the libraries can not be an option.

  • Ames April 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Jeb was governor from January 1999-January 2007, were the counties billed for a portion of Medicaid costs for their counties beneficiaries? Did Charlie bill the counties, and has Scott billed the counties? Was the bill passed to compel the counties to pay known delinquent debt? If the state has just claimed that they can decide, after the fact, that counties should have incurred some cost for those patient’s care, doesn’t that open tbe door for businesses and corporations to do the same?
    BTW, what did Jeb do with all that tobacco settlement money? Wasn’t that money supposed to cover the health care for uninsured Florida citizens whose health problems were were caused by tobacco?