Plans to remove the on-site librarian from the Fremont library and increase parking fees were just some of the topics of discussion at Wednesday’s public hearing on the city budget in Northgate.
“The library changes and improves lives,” said Tony Provine of Friends of the Seattle Public Library.
A crowd lines up to speak at Wednesday night’s budget hearing in Northgate
Under the mayor’s plan, the Fremont library and 7 other smaller libraries will be converted to “circulating libraries.” The Fremont library will continue to be open 35 hours per week and offer collections, holds-pickup, and computer access. But access to specialized services will be provided online or by telephone access to staff at the Central Library. Programming will be primarily focused on youth and provided by librarians from other locations. At all library branches, a one week systemwide closure (the week before Labor Day) will continue in 2011.
“We ask you to consider restoring some critical library service hours,” Provine told the City Council.
During Wednesday’s hearing, residents also voiced both support and opposition to the mayor’s parking plan. Metered parking would go up 50 cents an hour in Fremont and you’d have to pay until 8pm Monday through Saturday (currently 6pm). Sunday parking would no longer be free.
“Although Fremont is a vibrant and thriving neighborhood, we are aware of the loss of sales over the last year due to the addition of pay stations,” Jessica Vets with the Fremont Chamber of Commerce told us. “At the moment Fremont has only 72 paid street parking spots, thus an increase in rates and an extension of time will only minimally affect the neighborhood. The fear that Fremont retailers have is that SDOT will extend the paid parking into more of the neighborhood.”
To see more on the mayor’s proposed budget, click here.
The next public hearing on the budget takes place Wednesday, October 13 at South Seattle Community College at 5:30pm. The City Council has also set up a web page where you can submit ideas to balance the budget and vote on other suggestions.