by Chris Conte
TULLAHOMA, Tenn. - Facing a $2.5 million budget gap, Coffee County Commissioners are considering cutting funds to various departments to make up for the shortfall. The hardest hit may be the county's two public libraries.
Concerned residents have started circulating a petition to keep the two libraries intact.
"We’ve got 1,700 signatures from people supporting the library saying we want our funding to stay where it is," explained resident Robin Dunn who started the online petition last Tuesday.
Dunn said she plans to present the petition to County Commissioners on Tuesday night.
"Right now we're being honest and we're saying 'no,' this is as far as we can go. Every county should have a library," she says.
Currently, Coffee County has two public libraries which cost close to $1-million to operate. Some County Commissioners said they should be consolidated into one building to save funds, but librarians said that would be a disservice to the public.
"We have cut and cut and cut the way we do things and gone about things a lot more frugally and we’re to the point where there’s nothing left to cut except for services, staff and the hours we’re open," librarian Sharon Kay Edwards said.
The county has until August to balance their budget.