Michael Nutter, the current mayor of Philadelphia, recently faced public scrutiny as a result of him making a number of cuts in city programs to deal with major fiscal problems. Philly is known for its public libraries, so when Nutter announced the closure of eleven, he heard outcries from disheartened city residents at a following town hall meeting. In addition to the library cuts, Nutter may also have to shut down several public swimming pools and fire departments.
Although the value of a public library is priceless to a seeker of knowledge, the price of this piece of infrastructure is quite high for a city. Aa such, when a library is severely underused, it seems logical to cut it. Many of the public libraries that Nutter decided to close were empty most of the week, and even after the eleven librarys are shut Philadelphia will still have more libraries per capita than any other American city. Nutter is considering the best interests of the city, as the cuts will save $8 million per year.
Philadelphia surely had its problems in the past, and it is still severely ailing in the areas of health care and education. But since Michael Nutter’s inauguration a year ago the city has seen major improvements in crime, which has been the city’s most pressing issue in recent times. After hiring 200 additional police officers last year, the city’s murder rate decreased 15%, the sharpest decline in a decade.
Nutter’s major plans for the city are to reduce the cost of health care and decrease the crime rate further (Philadelphia has had a long reputation for being one of the most dangerous cities in America) so when it comes down to it, some of the money the government is saving in cutting a few libraries will be put towards increasing the city’s well being.
When a city is facing hard times, making a citizen ride the bus an extra few minutes to get to the nearest library should not be the biggest concern for government leaders.