PAGE – Wednesday, April 10, Carolyn James walked up to the podium to address the Page City Council.
She, like many before her who spoke, is concerned about Page City Library funding cuts. Her impassioned plea was emotional, tearful and effective.
Members of the council and community were visibly affected. Tears were shed.
James, who teaches third grade, emphasized the children. Her class visits the library every three weeks to check out books. For many students, it’s their first time getting a library card.
Creating a love for the library and reading at a young age provides an alternative to turning to the streets for less constructive entertainment.
One of the concerns expressed by many was closing the library on Saturdays. Since Wednesday’s council meeting, this has changed.
It is now open Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. James says it’s a “move in the right direction. It’s not what I want. I’m worried about the kids’ programs.”
A quick glance at previous library events compared to the current calendar reveals programs for children are continuing, but teen and adult programs are missing.
What appears a compromise at first look is really another small cut. To open the library Saturday for four hours, five hours were taken from the already shortened weekdays.
In recent council meetings, getting the budget under control is a common theme.
Councilor Dennis Warner has expressed his concern for fiscal responsibility on numerous occasions. There’s optimism. The city expects to pay off a bond this year. The investment in the Horseshoe Bend parking lot will provide an additional stream of revenue. Warner says the city has gone broke three times. He doesn’t want to see that happen again.
In a June interview with KXAZ, Warner is asked by News Director Carol Batchelor, “What goes through your mind when you’re sitting up there and you’re listening to everybody’s needs?” Warner replies, “You have to focus on facts. You can’t manage by emotion. People become very upset when they get cut on their budget. The city came to a complete financial meltdown, literally, not long ago. Unless you have stewards, who are focused on fiscal management any
municipality will overgrow its means. I refer to it as a ‘hungry horse.’ It’ll sit there and eat all day long. As long as you put hay in front of it, it’s going to eat it all. When it’s gone, it’s gone and unless someone takes a bail and puts it in the back room for tomorrow, it won’t be there and that’s what happened back in the last 10 to 15-year period. It’s tough.”
On Tuesday, Warner told the Chronicle things are “still up in the air” and he’ll know more on April 24, during the next regular scheduled council meeting.