Additional reduction in operating hours the likely outcome.
Today at City Hall, the budget committee is meeting to finalize the draft budget that will be sent to the mayor’s executive committee on Thursday, and to a full meeting of city council later this month. Though it looks like a few cuts that had originally been proposed, such as ones to school nutrition programs, will be reversed, at this time the budget committee is holding firm on a demand that the Toronto Public Library reduce its budget by 10 per cent this year.
This was a request issued to all City departments, agencies, boards, and commissions. Many have met that target, but some others—most notably, the Toronto Police Service—have not. While Mayor Ford has indicated that the police budget will be approved despite its failure to come close to a 10 per cent cut, no such latitude is being afforded the library system.
Should city council approve this element of the budget, the library will need to come up with another $7 million in cuts—which almost certainly would take the form of a reduction in branch operating hours. “I believe we have looked at all the opportunities available to us,” chief librarian Jane Pyper told the budget committee this afternoon, explaining why any additional budget reduction will have an impact on front-line service.
The budget committee continues meeting throughout the afternoon. More updates later today.