I voted against the motion to cut library hours at the June 1 Council meeting. I was very upset by the vote, and would support re-establishing the cut library hours from the budget.
The financial situation in El Cerrito has presented many difficult decisions for Council members and staff. In order to get to financial sustainability here we will need to make additional tough decisions which will involve cutting other city services that some residents might oppose.
Over the last couple years, I have said that if we are to get to a balanced budget, we will have to put everything on the table for consideration. So, I understand the discussion about cutting back on library hours. But I have also said, when making decisions on cuts, that each of us will have to determine what should be the last things we would consider cutting.
The library is an especially important asset in El Cerrito. And for me, as I said at the meeting, I will prioritize keeping our library, swimming pool and Fire Station #72 fully operational as we seek to trim our city expenditures.
We must also keep working to identify a venue for a new, safe and improved library when we can better afford one. The development in discussion stages now around the El Cerrito Plaza BART station presents some interesting options for a future El Cerrito library.
As we move toward a post-Covid world, we will increasingly need all the things a library offers a community — and, as I said when I first ran for council, I promise to do all I can to keep a full schedule for our existing library – while at the same time seeking to bring a new library to El Cerrito.