The Racine Library Board has until the end of May to decide if it wants to use $33,000 to reopen on Sundays during the school year.
The city's Finance Committee voted Monday to set a deadline for the board to make a decision on the money, which was included in the 2010 budget for the library to add the weekend hours.
Alderman Greg Helding asked the committee to consider reclaiming the money from the library and putting it in the city's contingency fund, which is used to cover unexpected costs.
"It seems like the library issue is a dead issue," Helding told the committee.
Instead of immediately taking back the money, Alderman QA Shakoor II said he wanted written confirmation from that library that it won't reopen on Sundays. The committee agreed to give the Library Board about a month to make a decision.
The vote was unanimous.
The city essentially shut the book on Sunday hours at the library during the school year when the council approved a new labor contract with the library's part-time employees. The contract does not include Sunday hours and would have to be renegotiated to include the additional hours.
The City Council voted last fall to increase the city's tax levy - the amount of money raised from city property owners - to pay for the additional Sunday hours. Helding said he "regretted" voting to "micromanage" the library's hours.
Alderman Jim Spangenberg, who voted against raising the levy to pay for the Sunday hours during the budget process, said it was clear the library didn't plan to open on Sundays.
"If they were interested, they would have jumped on this," he said.
Alderman Terry McCarthy said any response from the library to use the money to open on Sundays needed to include a specific plan on how they would add the hours. He didn't want the library to just say they were interested in hopes of holding the money longer.
As an aside, Helding responded publicly to Finance Director Dave Brown's claims reported on RacinePost that the city is running a $2 million deficit.
"Contrary to what was reported in some circles, the city is not running a $2 million deficit," Helding said. "We're fine."