Gales Ferry district hit hard by cuts during budget battle

LEDYARD, Conn. (WTNH) — Without a budget, towns and cities are having to make cuts to deal with the loss of state funding.

Budget cuts are hitting the heart of the Gales Ferry district in Ledyard as word has come out that their libraries will be taking a major hit.

Nearly 100 years of history is coming to an end. Whether or not that’s a permanent change remains to be seen, but on Monday night, residents in Gales Ferry say they are not going to stop fighting to keep their library open.

“It’s really sad,” stated resident Jenna Miller. “It’s the heart of our community. My children go here. My oldest just started going by herself. She utilizes everything here.”

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LeeAnn Anderson, President of The Gales Ferry District, shared a similar statement, saying, “It serves the children of our community. The elderly, you know, the elderly don’t get the newspaper. They can’t afford internet, they don’t have a computer. They come here.”

The Gales Ferry Library dates back to the 1800’s and moved to its current location in the 1970’s.

Last week, Ledyard Mayor Fred Allyn III announced the town will close the library’s location and limit hours at the other library in town. The reason is because of loss of state funding as Connecticut is still without a budget.

At Monday night’s Gales Ferry District meeting, Ledyard Town Council Finance Chair Bill Saums spoke on behalf of the town, saying, “You’re seeing a perfect example of what’s going to happen all over town as a result of the state’s failures. I really hope they come together and put a budget together but we still think we’re going to get hurt by several million dollars.”

The argument tonight, with an annual operating cost of just over $60,000, could the town or residents find another way to fun the library or make cuts elsewhere?

For now, the doors are scheduled to close on Nov. 3.

Ledyard officials say they will run out of money to fund the town by February. As of right now, 18 part-time employees will be laid off and the other library will no longer be open on Sundays.