Portland library considers service, job cuts

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PORTLAND — The director of the city’s public library system says hours at Portland’s branch libraries will be cut if the library is flat-funded in its 2010 budget.

The library is asking for $3.2 million in funding from the city for 2010, which is about $118,000 more than the current year’s funding. The library’s total proposed budget for 2010 is $3.8 million, with additional funding coming from Cumberland county ($12,000) and the state ($184,000) and outside funding sources.

Library Executive Director Steve Podgajny told the city Finance Committee at a meeting March 26 that without an increase in funding from the city, the library will have to reduce hours of operation at each of the five neighborhood branch libraries by 10 hours each. The library would also eliminate two full-time jobs.

Podgajny previously said City Manager Joe Gray told him the city’s fiscal 2010 budget would not include increases for any departments. Gray was expected to release his proposed fiscal year 2010 budget on Tuesday, according to City Hall spokeswoman Nicole Clegg, and will present it to the City Council on Monday, April 6. The city Finance Committee begins reviewing the budget proposal on Tuesday, April 7.

The budget review calendar can be found at portlandmaine.gov/budgetcalendar/pdf.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net.