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Mayor: Miami-Dade Libraries To Remain Open

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(Source: Getty Images)

(Source: Getty Images)

Summer Guide

HOMESTEAD (CBS4/The Miami Herald) – All of Miami-Dade County’s libraries will reportedly now remain open just weeks after word nearly two dozen would possibly close.

According to CBS4 news partner, The Miami Herald, the county has found a way to prevent the closures.

Instead of closing, the libraries will offer stripped-down services.

According to the paper, Mayor Carlos Gimenez informed county commissioners late Friday that 169 librarians would lose their jobs by October 1 and libraries would operate about three-quarters of the hours they do now.

The board of commissioners will meet Monday to discuss the 2013-14 budget projections.

Last month, the board decided to keep the property-tax rate flat despite service cuts and employee layoffs that would follow.

In a memo to commissioners, Gimenez said the county must consider the library department’s long-term future, including altering its funding structure. Libraries rely on taxes separately from those that go to the county’s general fund.

“To move toward a sustainable library system in the future, we must shift out perspective on how library services in Miami-Dade County are currently funded,” the mayor wrote in his memo and the paper reported.

Protesters have hit the streets since the announcement that some libraries would close.

The last four that had been at risk as of two weeks ago – the Country Walk, Sunset and Tamiami branches and Civic Center kiosk – will now be spared.

While libraries may be spared, other areas of Miami-Dade’s budget would also take a hit – including the fire-rescue department, which faces the elimination of three fire trucks and layoffs of 59 firefighters.

County leaders hope to save those trucks and firefighters with a grant it applied for from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, but that could take months for a reply.

The initial budget proposal also would have eliminated three rescue trucks. Those have since been spared.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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