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 and owner of the award winning Sonoma Independent website, which serves the public interest with insight, solutions and advocacy. Jonathan is an investigative financial journalist with 40 years of experience with national publications, including Forbes, The Washington Post, The New York Times, New York, Town & Country. Mother Jones and The New Republic. During the past few years, Jonathan wrote four of the most widely-read exposes about Donald Trump’s career published in the Washington Post. Jonathan was the notorious Forbes 400 reporter who taped two long calls in 1984 in which Trump pretended to be John Barron. Jonathan’s Washington Post expose about this was the subject of monologues on Colbert, the Daily Show and Seth Meyers. Jonathan has appeared live on a dozen major news shows, including on CNN with Chris Cuomo, Erin Burnett and Don Lemon, on MSNBC with Ari Berber and Ali Velshi, and NPR's On the Media. A fuller bio and links to Jonathan's work can be found at JonathanGreenberg.com. Jonathan is a new media entrepreneur and was the founder of Gist.com, an acclaimed Web 1.0 company that won the first annual Webby Awards in 1997. In 2006, Jonathan founded Progressive Source Communications, the parent company of The Sonoma Independent. Progressive Source is a public interest communications company that creates multimedia websites, videos and digital advocacy campaigns that build public awareness of solutions that serve the common good.

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