Benton County LIbrary Cuts Lead to State Action

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Benton County residents are outraged after news of losing state funding for their county library. Residents believe while the county has budget issues, the state’s decision could have long term consequences on the community. Benton County along with other Tennessee counties sign Maintenance of Effort contracts. That contract includes a promise from counties to the state to keep funding for the library consistent. “It was put in place so that when counties were financially having trouble, they wouldn’t use library money as a way to get out of trouble,” said Benton County Library Director Rhonda Tippit. This year the county broke its promise to the state by cutting more than $53,000 in funding for the library. As a result, the state will pull its funding, and this has left residents who rely on the resources outraged. “What I hate about it is, it affects our children and you know the kids need the library and they need to have access to all these wonderful books,” said Benton County Resident Michele Wright. There is a glimpse of hope. Mayor Barry Barnett told us the county library could get the money back if the commissioners decide to re-work the budget. Benton County commissioners will meet January 17 and residents hope the commissioners can find a way to help keep their library functioning at its best.

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