Staff at Burnham-On-Sea library breathed a sigh of relief on Friday (September 3rd) when they escaped the first round of a huge cost-cutting exercise by Somerset County Council, however bosses warned that further economies will have to be found.
Council Leader Ken Maddock announced that the authority is currently in debt to the tune of £350m and it faces a £75m deficit over the next three years.
In order to accommodate government spending cuts and make savings across the county, a raft of cost-cutting measures is being introduced – including 1,500 council job cuts – plus a reduction in library services.
While Burnham library (pictured) escaped the first round of cuts, six others across Somerset will be temporarily cutting their hours from the end of September and one will close.
Mr Maddock said voluntary groups could soon be invited to help run libraries like Burnham’s to help cut costs.
He said: “We are keen to see if voluntary groups, communities and charities can get involved and help us with the running of some of our libraries. For local people who are interested, these are exciting opportunities.”
The council has committed itself to a zero per cent increase in Somerset County Council’s council tax bill.
Mr Maddock said: “These are tough times for everyone and it’s important the Council does not increase the financial burden on the residents.”