Hamilton County libraries are facing some tough decisions due to a $3.2 million budget shortfall.
The good news is the libraries have saved enough money to make through this year, but that's it. The library system is losing funding on three fronts and that means cuts are on the way.
The biggest hit comes from the State of Ohio. Governor Kasich has cut library funding by five percent. For Hamilton County that translates to $1.6 million less than last year.
Declining property values are also to blame for monetary losses. The library is expecting $1.8 million less from an operating levy approved in 2009. That levy meant owners of a home worth $100,000 would pay $30 a month. The levy is good until 2014.
Finally, the creation of a county economic development program will divert delinquent tax dollars the library used to get.
How will future cuts impact your community branch?
That question remains to be answered. There are rumors that branches will start closing, but Executive Director Kimber Fender says that's not on the table at this time.
The seven member library board is set to meet to come up with ways to make cuts and keep all locations open.
Hamilton County has library branches in over 40 communities. This year the libraries have saved cash by outsourcing custodial services and instituted a hiring freeze.