Library Cuts? Citizens Express Concern Over City Council’s Budget Considerations

During the City Council meeting Tuesday, a number of concerned citizens and others took to the podium to express their concern over the prospect of Amarillo libraries being negatively affected by budget considerations, including reducing operating hours and wonder aloud if “7 can do the work of 10?”

While there were 7 signed up for the public speaking portion of the meeting, City Secretrary Stephanie Coggins informed the dais that while those people wished to speak publicly, a total of 29 wanted to share thoughts, presumably related to the agenda, but did wish to speak. Coggins provided the mayor and council with that list.

Keralee Clay, Senior Vice President of the Amarillo Area Foundation shared her concern over any cuts to library operations, adding that her organization did provide a grant to the library system and reminded the mayor and council of that partnership.

Mayor Cole Stanley and the council have spent the past week or more focused on the 2023-2024 fiscal budget and it was clear early Tuesday, the library was a topic of concern for many.

There was also a presentation of Artificial Intelligence, which was listed on the agenda as Digital Human Contract. In short, the city seeks to invest almost $583 thousand dollars to contract with Dell Technologies to develop a digital human and AI that can be implemented into the city’s website and other information related services.