The Lismore City Council has been asked to abandon plans to cut library funding by almost $80,000 a year … but an error by staff means that the cuts are unlikely to go ahead anyway.
Cr Adam Guise has lodged a notice of motion for next Tuesday’s meeting asking that the $79,900 per annum cuts to library funding be withdrawn.
‘Our libraries provide an essential community service and many people in our community depend on them for the safe community space that they offer. Cuts in previous budgets have already whittled down library services to the bare minimum,’ he wrote in support of his motion.
‘Efforts to close Goonellabah library by previous councils has been met with significant community opposition.
‘Staff in libraries are already stretched thin and they’re already providing more services than ever such as holiday programs, teen nights, computers, Wi-Fi, baby bounce, story time, guest speakers and more.
‘Further cuts to the library budget will negatively impact levels of service and hurt the most vulnerable in our community.’
But in a twist to the funding saga, the council’s manager of finance Rino Santin said an error in the already advertised operational plan for 2017/2018 meant that the library funding had not been cut.
“As advised to Councillors and to be reported at the 20 June meeting there is an error in the draft Delivery Program 2017-2021 and Operational Plan 2017/18,’ Mr Santin said.
‘The error is that the proposed library cuts were not included.
‘Based on legal advice, the Council does not have the power to amend the draft operational plan after public exhibition to include the library cuts unless the documents were readvertised.
‘As the readvertising option was not taken, the library budget in effect has not been cut.’