On July 6th, Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra requested a four-year (2005 - 2008) plan from the B&ECPL to be incorporated into a County-wide four-year plan intended for transmittal to the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority (ECFSA) by September 2005.
County Executive Giambra's request included the following specific requirements:
- Holding the Library property tax levy constant at the 2005 level ($21.7 million) for 2006;
- A program that reviewed issues raised in the Cohen Report, a.k.a. Aaron Cohen Associates' (ACA) The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library in the Third Millennium , and subsequent documents; and
- A purposeful list of funding needed to re-engineer B&ECPL over the years 2005 through 2008, with the understanding that the County Executive might recommend a portion of ECFSA funds to support B&ECPL initiatives.
Perhaps, after seven years of backward glances, the Cohen study can be put to rest. While its sobering predictions have come to pass, B&ECPL never ignored many substantive recommendations, addressing all but a relativehandful of those between 1998 and 2005. Now, those few that remain can receive the attention they deserve as B&ECPL re-engineers itself over the next three years.
In fairness, five years ago, the B&ECPL Board of Trustees made a valiant effort through six months of public hearings to impress the community-at-large and its elected leadership with the gravity of what was to come and the wisdom of preparing for it. Sadly, the philosophy of consolidation through new construction before closing any local library no longer applies. Erie County did not fund all 52 locations in 2006. As the result of nearly universal opposition, the ACA consolidation projects intended to replace older, inadequate libraries never occurred. Now, those older, inadequate libraries and, potentially, many others must close their doors without benefit of the new, state-of-the-art libraries ACA and B&ECPL hoped would replace them.
Click here for the report, The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, 1998 to 2008: Revisiting the Cohen Study and Redefining B&ECPL's Future.
Click here for the resolution adopting the August 2005 Four-Year Financial Plan.
Click here for the spreadsheets of the August 2005 Four-Year Financial Plan.