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Budget issues could cause some Santa Barbara County libraries to close

Posted at 5:14 PM, Apr 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-23 22:36:45-04

Some Santa Barbara County libraries could be forced to close or cut their hours because of a nearly $400,000 budget deficit.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors was presented with the library system’s budget outlook for 2019-20 at the supervisor’s April 19 meeting.

A lack of funding could mean the libraries in Montecito, Cuyama, and Guadalupe would have to close their doors. The libraries in Vandenberg Village, Los Alamos, Orcutt, and Solvang would have to cut their hours.

Ryder Bailey, the Chief Financial Officer for the County’s Community Services Department, says the budget gap is a result of several factors, including increased costs, depleted reserves, the elimination of state funding of local libraries, and the expiration of one-time Board-approved funding.

Bailey says the department is working with the board, local cities, and “Friends of the Library” groups to find funding to close that gap.

The final decision about library funding will be made during the county’s budget hearings, which are scheduled for June.