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Libraries could shoulder brunt of budget cuts

Suggested moves to balance the budget include closing Casa Verdugo branch, converting Chevy Chase.

May 12, 2011|By Melanie Hicken
  • Library page Tony Cerda uses the Dewey Decimal System to put a cart of returned books away at the Casa Verdugo Library branch on Thursday, May 12, 2011. (Roger Wilson/Staff Photographer)
Library page Tony Cerda uses the Dewey Decimal System…

CITY HALL — Spending cuts for community services and libraries — including possibly closing two branches — so far make up a disproportionate share of the proposed $4.1 million in city budget reductions, according to preliminary scenarios circulating at City Hall.

The potential cuts are among a slate of proposals that the City Council is reviewing as they attempt to fill a looming $18-million deficit in the General Fund, which pays for basic public services.

It is the fourth consecutive year Glendale will face a major shortfall as the city continues to see rising employee pensions and health-care costs that are outstripping stagnant revenues.

An initial budget proposal calls for $4.1 million in service cuts to be made citywide based on which services were deemed “discretionary,” “priority” or “essential” by respective department chiefs — a departure from years past when they were each asked to come back with across-the-board reductions.


So far in the new process that ranks services by priority, department executives for public safety have proposed far less cuts, proportionately, than those in charge of parks and libraries.

Of the proposed service cuts, roughly 44% — or nearly $1.8 million — would come from the Library and Community Services & Parks departments, even though they make up about 10% of the General Fund.

Another $1.3 million of proposed cuts come from the larger Public Works Department, leaving roughly $1 million for the rest of the city departments, including police and fire, whose budgets dwarf those for libraries and parks. The Community Development Department’s budget is also relatively large, but its funding also comes from sources outside the General Fund, like redevelopment.

Community Service & Parks-sponsored penny carnivals, summer movie screenings, concerts and the annual holiday tree lighting are all on the chopping block for a total $1.3-million proposed cut to the department’s budget.

Also at risk are open-space programming at Deukmejian Wilderness Park, financial backing for the city's Rose Float, the day laborer work center and life-skills workshops for at-risk teens.

Included in the nearly $500,000 proposed budget cut to the Library Department are the closures of the Casa Verdugo branch and converting the Chevy Chase Library to a community center that would host fee-based programs.

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