Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl says it is unfair for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to blame the city for its financial problems. He says, “the city is not the library’s problem, and for us to be positioned in a way that we are not giving enough is unfair.” Ranvenstahl says the $17.6 million the library gets from the Regional Asset District tax is “a city commitment, city taxpayers fund that.” Ravenstahl notes that before the RAD tax was enacted the city gave $5.3 million to the library each year but pulled the number back to $40,000 in 1994. Ravenstahl has called on the RAD board to perform and audit of the library’s books, “before a single library is allowed to close.” Ravenstahl goes on to complain there is not enough detail in the budget. He points to a $2.8 million budget line that reads “other.” He says he wants to know what that means, why it increases to $3.2 million by the end of the 5-year plan and why it nearly equals the “library materials” line of $2.9 million. At his news conference Ravenstahl passed around copies of a report from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh titled “A Composite Report 2010-2014: Funding Outlook and Implications,” which was created months ago. Ravenstahl says “nobody wants to see the libraries close” but he says he is “uncomfortable” sending any money to the library before he knows where it is going. Ravenstahl says the audit needs to also look at the salaries paid to employees from top to bottom and compare them to pay at libraries in other cities.