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Library rallying to prevent Falls budget cuts

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Buffalo: Library rallying to prevent Falls budget cuts
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A proposed 2013 budget in the City of Niagara Falls has the potential to create more layoffs than originally thought according to officials who say it's now threatening jobs at the city's library.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — It’s been nearly a week since Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster presented his proposed 2013 budget before a packed house of city residents.

"The budget I present to you today is the not the budget I'd hoped to present to you a year ago," Dyster said last Thursday.

And like many across the City of Niagara Falls, it's not the budget Michelle Petrazzoulo had been hoping for either.

"We would be cut severely here at the library,” the executive director for the Niagara Falls Public Library said. “The current proposed budget for 2013 is $100,000 less than it was last year."

That would give Petrazzoulo around $1.7 million to work with, and potentially fewer employees, if Dyster's proposed budget remains unchanged.

"As many as half of the total cuts that the City of Niagara Falls is looking at,” Petrazzoulo explained. “They're looking at 27 total cuts, and I can look in the number of 13 or more just here."

Even more troubling, Petrazzoulo said last year's budget wasn't enough to cover contractual salary obligations to her 36 employees and the cut in funding could also jeopardize state aid dependent on city funding, prompting her to distribute petitions on Election Day.

"We have them available at the circulation desk both here and at LaSalle libraries, we're going to try to get more out into the community and we want people to come out to the city council meeting on the 13th."

The meeting is part of the city's budget review process where Petrazzoulo plans to tell officials exactly how the cuts could affect the city's library.

"Given the numbers we've been given, I don't think we can, we cannot serve the public at the level we are now and the public will feel the impact of that."

So far, Petrazzoulo's received more than 400 signatures. Mayor Dyster said his budget is still under a review and a final decision won't be made on any cuts until next month.

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