Library Supporters Organize Petitions, Rides

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Businesses and churches in Payson, Pine and Strawberry are showing support for county libraries by making petitions available that protest Gila County's plan to cut its funding for public libraries.

The petitions state support for county libraries and opposition to proposed cuts in the County Library Tax Rate and subsequent reduction of funding to municipal libraries. In Payson, that cut would be about $92,000 in the coming fiscal year.

County officials have said they want to cut library funding and the library tax rate so they can raise other property taxes to fund county health services.

Judy Buettner, president of the Friends of the Payson Library, said Wednesday that people need not be registered voters to sign the petitions. There are also petitions for children, which, Buettner said, have been well received.

The petitions must be turned in by 4 p.m. Monday at the Payson Public Library on Main Street. Once the signatures are counted, they will be taken to Globe for a county budget hearing scheduled with the Gila County Supervisors at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday.

A group of library supporters and town officials has arranged to attend the budget hearing and welcomes others who want to join in the effort to support libraries.

Some local businesses which have the petitions available are: Ace Hardware; Back to Basics; Vita Health; Rim Country Kids; Eastern Arizona College; Payson Packaging; Payson Photo Express; the Payson Farmers Market, and many local churches. Petitions are also available at the library.

In Strawberry, petitions are available at the Strawberry Market and the Strawberry Lodge. In Pine, petitions are at the Ponderosa Market and the Nifty Fifties Restaurant.

On Friday and Saturday, from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m., a table will be set up with petitions in front of the Safeway store.

For information about the petition or the trip to Globe, call the Payson Public Library at 474-2585.

People interested in providing a ride or getting a ride to Globe Tuesday should show up that morning at 7:30 a.m. at the Payson Public Library.

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