HAMMOND | The Hammond City Council will hold a public hearing tonight on funding for the Hammond Public Library.
City Council members gave initial approval in May for the library to use $526,041 of its funds to pay for necessary maintenance items. However, the hearing is required before a final vote can take place.
The request follows the City Council denying the library's original budget for 2013. Library officials say the money will be used to repair the broken air conditioning system, upgrade computers and replace carpet and tile.
The total request is set to come from the library's rainy day fund, according to the agenda for tonight's City Council meeting.
Library officials have stressed the money is available in existing cash balances but can't be used without council approval.
Library supporters staged a rally before a May meeting of the City Council to show support for the funding.
Paul Taylor, president of the Hammond Public Library board, has previously told The Times the library is able to operate within its current budget but does not have the funding needed for maintenance.
"So we could keep the library open. But there are obviously maintenance items that are very large that we've been putting off for a long time, and we just can't anymore," Taylor said in May.
A new state law required the library to present its 2013 budget to the council for the first time because its board is appointed.
Council members will meet in caucus at 5 p.m. in Room 205 of City Hall, 5925 Calumet Ave. The regular council meeting will then begin at 6 p.m.