The Sonoma Independent’s Interim Financing Plan to Restore Library Hours Most Supervisors say they will support a solution that cities co-fund. This plan makes it happen.

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Sonoma County Libraries have been closed Mondays for more than four years, and there is no end in sight to the largest library funding crisis and hours cutback in history.  Last month, as described in this new report here,  the Sonoma Independent delivered a petition with 1,271 names on it to the Board of Supervisors’ annual budget meeting. The Supervisors refused to allocate the $1.2 million in requested funding from the County’s surplus to reopen libraries on Mondays. But in an unusual public response, three of the County’s five Supervisors spoke of supporting a financing effort to restore Monday hours, provided that it came from the County’s Library Commission, and that local cities join with the County in co-funding the solution.

Both the County and most local cities have sufficient contingency funds should they choose to do this, starting in the New Year. On July 6, the Sonoma Independent submitted to the Library Commission this $1.5 million interim funding proposal, that would last until a larger revenue measure can secure permanent funding at the ballot box.

This Sonoma Independent proposal calls for the cost of restoring hours to be split between the County and seven cities,  starting January 1, 2016. The County would contribute $600,000 annually, seven cities would share the other $600,000, and the Library budget would add $300,000 more. Because the funding would commence in the middle of the fiscal year (which ends June 30), the amounts to be paid for the first half a year of restored hours would be half the annual amounts described here.

The Library Commission plans to explore the proposal in its Revenue Committee, and decide whether or not to move forward with a plan to restore hours in the next few months. The petition on the right side of this page, and here,  urges the Library Commissioners, Supervisors, and City Councils, to commit to resolving this funding crisis this year.

Estimated Total Cost of restoring Monday hours and one evening: $1,500,000

Library Commission share: $300,000

 County Share: $600,000

 Share contributed by cities: $600,000

 

Proposed City Contribution Breakdown

(Sonoma Independent’s proposed amounts are based upon population, size of city budget, number of libraries, and level of shared usage by neighboring County residents. We left out Cloverdale because it is a financially strapped area and because many of its users are County residents).

 

Santa Rosa                            $200,000

Petaluma                               $80,000

Rohnert Park                       $80,000

Sonoma                                  $60,000

Windsor                                 $60,000

Healdsburg                            $60,000

Sebastopol                             $60,000

 

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Jonathan Greenberg

Jonathan Greenberg is Editor of the award-winning, privately owned public interest website The Sonoma Independent, which he founded in 2015 with the mission of informing to empower. Jonathan is an investigative financial journalist with 40 years of experience with national publications. During the past few years, Jonathan wrote three of the most widely-read exposes about Trump’s career published in the Washington Post. Jonathan was the notorious Forbes 400 reporter who taped two long Trump calls in 1984 in which he pretended to be the fictitious John Baron. His Post expose about this, with audio here, has been the subject of monologues on Colbert, the Daily Show and Seth Meyer’s A Closer Look. Jonathan has appeared live on a dozen top news shows, including Chris Cuomo’s CNN Good Day and most recently on CNN’s prime time Upfront with Erin Burnett to expose Trump’s latest lies. a fuller bio and links to Jonathan's work can be found at JonathanGreenberg.com.

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