ORCUTT, Calif. - Call it weed to read, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has backfilled a county library budget deficit with money from the state’s blossoming legal cannabis industry.
Mary Austin is taking courses online and often finds herself searching out a local library to study.
It’s a great way of connecting resources and utilizing computers, it’s very important. I myself am an online student,” Austin, who recently moved to the Central Coast from the East Coast.
The Army and National Guard Veteran also turns to the Orcutt Library for their Vet Connect services.
“A lot of colleges won't allow me to come to my knowledge, won’t allow me to come, it’s just a haven just a really special resource for everyone,” said Austin.
Lisa Shahaden loves bringing her two kids to the Orcutt branch of the Santa Maria Public Library. “Utilizing the computer system, all of the kids' books, we get their summer reading done here at the public library. I love it it’s just down the street from us,” said the Orcutt mom.
Back in June, library system officials went to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, highlighting a close to $250,000 budget shortfall.
“I think it’s sad that we can’t fund our own libraries and education for children, it’s one of the most important resources that we have in our community,” said Shahaden.
After fundraising efforts fell through, supes just made a total county library commitment of $3.8 million dollars.
Filling a $68,000 hole Tuesday and that quarter of a million from June - all with cannabis tax revenues.
Keeping the doors open and the lights on in Orcutt, Montecito and Vandenberg Village.
“I think those funds should be used for resources for education anything we can do to fund our children, and the education system I don’t really care where it comes from,” said Shahaden
Supervisor Steve Lavagnino says that’s what the money is there for, to take care of one time issues that pop up in the county and it falls well within the general government programs stipulation.
Over the last four fiscal quarters, cannabis has generated the county $6.5 million dollars.