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Ripon Library may get $20,000 from city

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POSTED January 5, 2009 12:17 a.m.
RIPON — The operating budget for the Ripon Memorial Library might soon get a large boost.
The Ripon City Council Tuesday night will consider approving matching the $20,000 in funding that the Friends of the Ripon Library have guaranteed to be used for the purchase of materials.
In a day and age when library funding is shrinking significantly – something that even the Ripon City Council has considered cutting back spending on — as tight financial times squeeze just about everything that isn’t considered absolutely essential.
The proposal is being pitched as part of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors’ Intergovernmental Partnership Program that maximizes the benefits between private and public partnerships. It is a concept that the Friends of the Ripon Memorial Library have become quite versed in ever since they set out to raise the necessary funding to completely retrofit a building shell and transform it into a state-of-the-art complex that will serve the community for decades to come.
But while the concept of supporting the library has long been a campaign platform for just about every council candidate, how to go about funding the programs and operation has become somewhat of a cause of contention among those who serve on the council and some in the community. At times it has resulted in heated exchanges that spill even beyond the council chambers.
If it is the City of Ripon that is being asked to cover the $20,000 matching funds – with a budget shortfall just being dealt within inside the last two months – there might end up being a lengthy discussion as elected officials weigh their options before making the hard decisions about what has to be left behind during times of fiscal crisis.
The Friends of the Ripon Library have long contended that even though they now have a beautiful new facility, they still need the financing and the donations to maintain it. That includes adding new books and materials to stock the additional shelves and outfit the additional rooms provided in the new design.
Tuesday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. inside of the council chambers at Ripon City Hall – located at 259 N. Wilma Avenue. To obtain a copy of the meeting agenda, visit www.cityofripon.org , or call (209) 599-2108. 
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