April 19, 2018

Friends Seek Special Election to Save Salinas Public Library

By LJ Staff

The Friends of the Salinas Public Library, CA, will try to put another tax measure on a special March ballot in hopes that a successful passage will prevent the closure of the three-branch system. The city council also is making an effort–it created a committee time to generate ideas about raising money or making changes to save the system. Two measures that would have raised between $9.5 million and $12 million for city services annually failed on Election Day in November, leading to massive cuts scheduled for 2005. Salinas needs to eliminate $8.3 million from its budget for the 2005-06 fiscal year in order to deal with a $9.2 million deficit.

Library supporters are especially frustrated by the failure of Measure B, which would have raised utility taxes for 61 large businesses. They cite confusion over the large number of measures and its position at the end of the ballot. A new measure would need the approval by the Salinas City Council, as state law prohibits putting the same measure back on the ballot in less than a year. It also would need a two-thirds approval by voters. The city council committee: has discussed asking large companies to pay the additional utility tax voluntarily and temporarily. Mayor Anna Caballero suggested turning the libraries into noncirculating research facilities. Committee members acknowledged that "nickel and dime fundraisers" won’t be sufficient. The Salinas Californian noted that the American Library Association had issued an alert regarding the likely closures.