Library offers cuts to city council

DeWayne Bartels
Peoria Library Board President Brian Ruddell. right, listens to a question from the city council last night. Seated next to Ruddell is library director Ed Szynaka.

Peoria Public Library Board president Brian Ruddell offered up $320,453 in library budget cuts to the Peoria City Council last night.

The figure is $79,547 short of the $400,000 in cuts the city council asked the library to came back with at the council's Aug. 11 meeting. However, no one from the council called Ruddell on the shortfall in offered cuts.

The city council is looking at a projected $10 million deficit in 2010. The council has proposed dropping 2 cents from the library levy, amounting to $400,000 and putting that into the city's general fund.

Ruddell and other members of the library board at a special board meeting Aug. 20 decided to offer up $320,000 in cuts and see what the council's reaction was.

The cuts offered up last night break down as follows:

* $100,787 in a salary freeze

* $142,053 from not filling three vacant positions

* $27,613 from discontinuing print versions of reference materials available through online databases

* $50,000 reduction in materials during construction at the Main Street branch

"We intend to do our part," Ruddell told the council. "Our commitment to the city council and the community remain firm."

Ruddell said the library board's goal is to implement cuts the public will barely notice.

"These cuts have to be temporary or service will be impacted greatly. This cannot continue very long," Ruddell said.