Westtown Library may not reopen anytime soon - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Westtown Library may not reopen anytime soon

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

An effort to reopen a closed Dougherty County library may not get very far.

The county's finance committee voted down that proposal today. The library board is asking the county for money to reopen the Westtown branch.

The finance committee says right now, there just isn't enough money to make that happen.

It looks as if the Westtown library will remain closed for now because of budget restraints in the county.

"I made the motion first not to fund that, because we have not given our county employees a raise in at least four years," said Commissioner Ewell Lyle.

The Dougherty County Commission Finance committee met this morning voting 2-1 against the library board's request to fund the reopening of Westtown.

"On one hand, we're cutting making significant cuts. And this one their asking for additional funds. It just difficult to identify where it would come from," said Commissioner Ewell Lyle.

The library board asked for about $150,000 in additional money to open the library for 40 hours a week. Human Resource Manager Tyler Hale says he understands why the finance committee made their decision.

"Business 101 is you can't keep a business open, if you don't have the money to run it. It's hurtful to the community because the community rely on the library and I see why the county has chosen not to fund it at the time until possibly financial situations get better," said Human Resource Manager Tyler Hale.

The Central Library is currently under renovations and there's a search for a new library director. Hale says once those issues are complete, he's hoping the committee will reconsider their recommendation.

"At the time it may not be a reasonable time to reopen a branch, but I hope in the near future they decide to reopen both up," said Tyler Hale.

Hale feels the possibility of reopening one of the locations is a step in the right direction.

We're told the Westtown library was chosen because it was the cheapest to fund and less staffing would be needed.

Other options were presented that would keep Westtown open for 16 hours or 30 hours a week.

Commissioners Hudgins and Lyle voted not to recommend the funding and Commissioner Hayes voted for the funding.

The full county commission will consider the proposal and the finance committee's recommendation Monday.

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