At a time when Burbank is raising fees and using one-time funds to plug a $1.1-million budget gap, is keeping the dream of a new Central Library really worth keeping alive — at least to the tune of $3.5 million?
Apparently the City Council thought so when it approved allocating $3.5 million toward a roughly $16-million budget for a revamp of the aging Central Library. The council did so in an effort to, as Public Works Director Bonnie Teaford put it, “keep the dream alive” for once-grand plans to completely replace the facility.
Those original plans have since gone out the window, facing a price tag that has ballooned to more than $100 million.
Now officials are trying to scrape together some other vision of what that dream revamp can be with the much smaller $16-million budget.
Even with that toned down spending cap, a Central Library revamp would still be years, perhaps even more than a decade, away. It took the Buena Vista Library project more than 15 years to go from plans to reality.
Even at a conservative five- to 10-year outlook, surely the financial and economic landscape will be much different than it is now, when the City Council is considering signing off on plans to raise trash collection fees, electricity rates and other fees — in addition to tapping one-time funds — to plug a budget deficit.
That deficit could be completely covered by using a third of the $3.5 million the council agreed to plunk down for the library project fund.
Would the library dream be diminished — or have any less chance of becoming a reality — if some of that money was used to cover the more immediate budget issues facing City Hall?
We think not.