Thunder Bay Public Library Releases Budget Consultation Survey Results

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Waverly Community Hub
Waverly Community Hub

THUNDER BAY – News – The Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL) released a survey on Thursday, November 24, 2022 to gauge public reaction to a drastic 15% funding cut being proposed by City Administration to the Library’s capital budget.

The community response to the survey was swift and decisive. Over 2,600 people responded to the survey in just over two weeks.  The community expressed very strong support for the Library receiving an appropriate level of funding to ensure that buildings were properly maintained.  Respondents also overwhelmingly supported increasing the overall level of funding allocated to the Library.

Here are some of the responses to key survey questions:

  • Over 92% of respondents were strongly opposed to a 15% cut to the Library’s budget.

  • Seventy six percent of the respondents would consider attending a protest to protect the Library from big budget cuts.

  • Over 89% of respondents would be less likely to vote for a current Councillor in the next election if they voted to cut the Library’s funding.

  • Less than 2% of respondents thought the Library should be denied its request for a 3% increase to its capital budget.

  • Over 80% of respondents support the City giving full and proper funding (as outlined in the long term capital forecast) to the Library to invest in infrastructure over the long term.

  • Over 82% of respondents would prefer to see a reduction in the salaries of managers at the City rather than a reduction to the Library’s capital budget.

  • Over 81% of respondents indicated that they would be supportive of having 4% to 7% of their property taxes allocated to properly fund the Library. This amount is currently hovering around 3% of property taxes.

  • Over 73% of the respondents indicated that they would be willing to pay an extra $20 in taxes to ensure that a neighbourhood library remained open.

  • Over 70% of respondents would be willing to pay more taxes to have a new state of the art public library.

  • Over 94% of respondents want the Library to keep them informed as to which Councillors vote to increase or decrease the Library’s funding.

After accounting for inflation, the Library’s operating budget has only increased 0.02% over the last 15 years – despite increasing wages, the rising costs of Library materials and technology, higher utility costs and aging and declining infrastructure.  We also have a 21 million dollar infrastructure gap, as decades of under-funding have left the Library in a precarious situation.

Members of the community have spoken and have told us and our elected officials that slashing the services our community depends on is not the way to build a healthy, inclusive and safe city.

The Library has also received more than 20 letters of support from local organizations, MPs and MPPs who are deeply concerned about the impact that cuts to the Library will have on their students, clients, members and constituents.

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