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Estates Library shutting down? (Golden Gate Estates, Naples, FL)

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avatarUdut, Kenneth -- on June 30 2009, from Golden Gate Estates, Naples, FL
Founder of this Naples site of NeighborHelp Referrals.

I hope not!!! Man, that would stink. I'd better see how the vote went.

Some Golden Gate Estates residents were shocked to learn their library may be on the chopping block if Collier County Commissioners choose to implement budget cuts of 15 percent, June 29.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” said Golden Gate Estates Civic Association board member Peter Gaddy. “Every time I’m in that library it is packed and overcrowded. It has needed to be expanded for years. To close it would be a tragedy.”

Collier County Commissioners are slated to vote on whether to implement a 3 or 15 percent budget reduction.

Click here to read Collier County's 2010 proposed budget.

At three percent, the cuts will maintain current service levels, but raise the taxpayer’s millage rate from $3.14 to $3.60 per $1,000 property value, or roughly $115 per year on a $300,000 property with homestead exemption.

The 15 percent budget would hold taxes steady (tax neutral) from last year, but officials say it comes at a price including cuts to all county services, the closing of three Collier County libraries -- East Naples, Golden Gate Estates and Vanderbilt Beach branch libraries.

Officials have previously discussed closing the East Naples and Vanderbilt libraries, both in communities with nearby regional libraries, but this is the first time the Estates branch has been included in the cuts.

Gaddy said although he does not want to lose his community’s library, he does not favor a tax increase to keep the facility open.

“People here are just trying to keep foreclosures off their backs, we just can’t afford a tax increase,” he said. “The county has its priorities all cockeyed – they’re putting in all kinds of median landscaping, but they can’t keep a library open.”

Library officials say Estates patrons can utilize the Golden Gate Branch Library, which was recently expanded, nine miles away. The cost savings to close all three libraries is estimated at $578,765.

Last month, after a reduction of hours at the Vanderbilt Beach Branch Library, members of the Pelican Bay Property Owners Association and other community associations in North Naples donated $15,000 they raised in an effort to keep that branch open on Fridays through Sept. 1. The groups formed the Save Our Library Committee after news that their branch was considered for closure.

According to Mark Teaters, of the Homeowners Association of the Golden Gate Estates, the group has been trying to organize volunteers to address a reduction of hours at the Estates Branch Library.

“It’s a big concern to us,” he said of the possible closure, “We’re trying to do everything we can to keep out library open.”

GGEACA member Tim Nance says Estates residents make up approximately 10 percent of the county's population. He says talk of closing the community's library equates to posturing for a significant tax increase.

"Since 2000, Collier County expenditures have gone up over 200 percent, while the population has gone up just over 25 percent," he says. "The bottom line is that Estates residents pay taxes, too. What do we have to show for the last eight years other than Max Hasse Park, the Estates Branch library and a couple of miles of over-planted medians in Golden Gate Boulevard?"

If commissioners opt for a 15 percent cut to the 2010 budget, library officials say the three facilities would be minimally maintained at a cost of $47,735 to avoid deterioration of the buildings.

Other proposed cuts associated with a 15 percent cut to this year’s budget include the discontinuation of pet adoptions at the Domestic Animal Services shelter. Officials say previous cuts have reduced staffing and any further cuts will have to come from operations. According to spokesperson Camden Smith, DAS would attempt to place adoptable animals with other area shelters and rescue groups. She estimated a 14 percent increase in animal euthanasia.

To view a copy of the proposed 2010 budget, see this story online. To contact commissioners directly, call 252-8097.
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Estates Library shutting down?  (Golden Gate Estates, Naples, FL) I hope not!!!  Man, that would stink.  I'd better see how the vote went.