County approves budget, library merger

The merger between the Minneapolis Public Library and Hennepin County Library systems is one vote away after the Hennepin County Board gave it a thumb’s up Tuesday.

It voted in favor of the merger, which is billed to happen as early as Jan. 1. The City Council is scheduled to vote Friday.

The County Board also unanimously approved a $1.6 billion budget – a 6.5 percent increase over last year’s. It includes a property tax increase of 6.5 percent.

“The focus of the 2008 budget is to continue providing quality services in an environment of constricted resources,” said County Administrator Richard Johnson. “Although demand for county services continues to grow, state and federal aid is shrinking, which forces counties to rely more on property taxes to provide mandated services and programs.”