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Gulf Beaches library fears tax plan will slice funding

By NICK JOHNSON
Published May 9, 2007


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The Gulf Beaches Public Library will be anticipating the effects of the state's new tax plan when the beach communities meet to renew their funding agreement this month.

The library draws about half of its funding from Madeira Beach, where it is located, Treasure Island and the Redingtons. The agreement breaks down contributions by population and usage.

Last year the communities contributed nearly $270, 000.

Jan Horah, the library's director, said they are operating on a tight budget, leading to limited hours and a reliance on volunteers. They need local support to survive.

"I really can't see any alternate ways of this little community getting other funding, " Horah said.

Mayors and community representatives met several weeks ago to discuss the new agreement. They plan to continue with the status quo but may need to revisit the issue once the new tax plan is established.

"We're just kind of on hold, " said Bill Queen, mayor of North Redington Beach.

Mary Brown, executive director of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative, said that the Gulf Beaches Library is not alone. Each of the 13 libraries in Pinellas County is heavily funded by local contributions.

"I can't imagine that the libraries are going to be held harmless through this whole process, and in fact, if tradition holds true, we're going to be first on the chopping block, " Brown said.

Nick Johnson can be reached at nickjohnson@sptimes.com or 893-8675.

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For information on the Gulf Beaches Public Library, visit gulfbeacheslib.org/news.php.

[Last modified May 8, 2007, 20:26:33]


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