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Tim Howard
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SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ARE CONSIDERING A FARE INCREASE FOR SCAT BUSES AND THE CLOSING OF SOME LIBRARIES ON SUNDAYS AS WAYS TO CUT A BUDGET THAT NEEDS ABOUT $140 MILLION DOLLARS TRIMMED FROM IT.  THE SECOND OF THREE BUDGET WORKSHOPS WAS HELD WEDNESDAY, AND COMMISSIONERS SAY THIS WILL BE THE FIRST YEAR THAT CUTS WILL BE VISIBLE TO RESIDENTS.  THE COUNTY DID BUILD UP A RAINY DAY FUND DURING THE GOOD TIMES, BUT THEY FEAR THAT IF THE HOUSING MARKET DOESN’T RECOVER SOON, IT WILL BE DRY IN FOUR YEARS.  THE SELBY AND JACARANDA LIBRARIES HAVE BEEN TARGETED FOR CLOSURE ON SUNDAYS AS ONE WAY TO SAVE MONEY ALONG WITH CHANGING OPERATING HOURS AT ALL LIBRARIES IN THE COUNTY.  BUT THE BIGGEST CHANGES COULD OCCUR FOR THOSE WHO USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AS COMMISSIONERS ARE PROPOSING A FIFTY CENT INCREASE FOR SCAT BUS RIDERS.  THE DOLLAR TWENTY-FIVE FARE WOULD BE IN LINE WITH SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES, BUT THAT WON’T LESSEN THE HURT IT WILL PUT ON RIDERS’ WALLETS.