Milpitas leaders "reaffirmed" their decision on Tuesday to cancel the July 4 fireworks show and cut library hours, but not without hearing from the public first.
The City Council once again considered the cuts after a controversy two weeks ago over whether the public was properly notified and given time to comment on the looming decisions. City officials said they did let residents know about the issues, but decided to vote on them again to make sure anyone who wanted to speak could be heard.
A handfull of residents spoke out specifically against the city's decision to cut library hours from 66 to 54 hours each week.
Milpitas resident Charles Schletzbaum, debate team coach at Milpitas High School, and his wife Jammie questioned the library's decision to close on Thursday nights under the new schedule.
"Thursday night is a time when most of his students would be using the library. That is a very bad time," Jammie said.
Schletzbaum said cutting back on library hours poses a unique problem in Milpitas, where students grow up in cultures where parents frown on different sexes meeting at each others' houses.
The library, Schletzbaum said, is a neutral and parent-approved spot where debate team members can get together and practice.
Lalitha Padubidri, a volunteer yoga instructor, was concerned that her Tuesday night yoga class was cut to allow for other events in the auditorium under the reduced hours.
"I teach 50-plus people and they are very unpleased," Padubidri said.
City Council members pointed out that Milpitas' library remains open seven days a week, unlike many in the county. They said the cuts are necessary as the city grapples with a $9.2 million deficit.
The fireworks and library cuts will save the city about $428,000 annually.
"We have to balance a budget and there are no easy choices," said councilman Armando Gomez.