City of Ridgeland withholds funds from the Ridgeland Public Library once again

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 7:04 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The city of Ridgeland is once again withholding funds from its public library.

”I just think it’s ridiculous that politics gets involved in the books that people read. They need to stay out of our libraries,” Ridgeland resident Janet Grillis said.

Many residents in Ridgeland are left frustrated as their public library announces it will cut down hours and potentially close in October due to a lack of funds from the city.

“The check goes to the Madison County Library System pays the salaries and the bills. Haven’t received the April, May, June, July, August, September,” Treasurer of Friends of the Ridgeland Library, Jane Bond, explained.

According to Mayor Gene McGee, the city and library system had come to an agreement about a contract in April.

Director of the Madison County Library System, Tonja Johnson, and the city of Ridgeland adopted the 2009 contract. But the city came back and rescinded the contract after the library system agreed.

Because of disagreements, each city would receive its own library contract.

Madison and Canton voted on their’s last week. Flora will Thursday night, but Ridgeland doesn’t have it on their agenda and “has chosen to withhold funding.”

The treasurer for Friends of the Ridgeland Library claims the mayor hasn’t been clear with his own board about the situation.

“I have talked to my Alderman I talked to him when after the sign went up yesterday and he was extremely upset. He had no idea that was coming,” Bond explained.

Residents said they depend on the library - and if it closes in October, many won’t have a valuable resource.

“It will greatly impact me because then I have to go back into searching for somewhere to go and study for the MCAT and also for future studies,” Ridgeland resident Jerrian Reedy said.

“We’re trying to raise children that like to read and book come to the library and check out books. And if there’s a library close to home, they’re gonna go if there’s not, they may not,” Grillis said.

McGee said that he has no doubt that funding will be given to the library before October 1st.

Bond says she isn’t too sure - especially since funding disagreements have been going on since January when Mayor McGee withheld LGBTQ+ books being in the library.

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