The January 15th NVN story on the future of library really demonstrates City of Yelm officials are just continuing to use a “band-aid” approach for a Timberland Regional Library facility to operate here beyond 2012.
Let’s examine Megan Hanson’s & Susan Louis’s report, in-depth. My comments are in CAPS:
“Future of Yelm library unknown”
By Megan Hansen and Susan Louis
Nisqually Valley News
Published: Friday, January 15, 2010 4:22 PM PST
As the lease nears an end for the Yelm Timberland Library, city officials think they have a solution.
Were having a conversation with the property owner (of Prairie Park) to renegotiate a reduced price and extend the current lease, Mayor Ron Harding said.
Harding submitted a proposal to TRL [TIMBERLAND REGIONAL LIBRARY] suggesting the two entities extend the lease three to five years, at a new negotiated rate, and split the cost.
WHY WOULD THE CITY DO THAT?
PRAIRIE PARK IS A IN A PRIVATE, RENTED FACILITY.
THE TIME HAS COME TO BITE THE BULLET AND HAVE OUR PUBLIC LIBRARY IN A PUBLIC FACILITY!
THE CITY HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY WARNED BY THE STATE TO STOP USING PUBLICLY COLLECTED TAXES TO PAY FOR PUBLIC FACILITIES HOUSED IN A RENTED BUILDING, AS WAS THE CASE WITH THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY RENTING SPACE FOR THEIR MUSEUM IN THE SAME PRAIRIE PARK FACILITY, COVERED HERE DECEMBER 1, 2007.
WILL MAYOR HARDING GET AS PASSIONATE ABOUT A PUBLIC LIBRARY FACILITY AS HE WAS IN GETTING A PUBLIC FACILITY FOR OUR HISTORICAL MUSEUM?
TRL is not in the facilities business. Yelm is an anomaly, said acting Executive Director Michael Crose. Normally we require our libraries to be in public buildings.
We agreed to make a 10-year exemption for Yelm, and that is not one that other libraries are happy with.
As it stands now, the city will be required to cover building costs after 2011.
Until instructed otherwise by the TRL Board, the district will make no further payments to Yelm after the lease expires, Crose said. However, the mayor has proposed a couple of options that I will share with my board at its next meeting.
MR. CROSE & TRL HAVE BEEN VERY UP-FRONT FOR YEARS NOW WITH THE CITY OF YELM, THE YELM LIBRARY BOARD, AREA PROPERTY TAXPAYERS AND PATRONS THAT YELM’S EXEMPTION TO OPERATE IN A NON-PUBLIC FACILITY WAS FOR 10 YEARS & YELM WOULD BEAR THE FULL COST OF RENT IN A NON-PUBLIC FACILITY AFTER 2012!
WHY WOULD THE TRL BOARD CHANGE THAT NOW, WHEN THEY ARE UNDER SUCH FINANCIAL PRESSURE WITH THEIR BUDGET & DOING SO VIOLATES THEIR OWN RULES? NO OTHER TRL LIBRARY IS ALLOWED TO DO THIS.
Harding believes that a three- to five-year extension will give them enough time to develop a plan that can be sustained.
The city is committed to providing a space for a community library, Harding said. What is unknown is how large a space and the location.
It has to fit within our current city budget.
Harding said when Tahoma Terra was designed, there was supposed to be a site for a library, but when that folded, they were back to square one.
We looked at all kinds of things: finding an existing facility, extending the lease or building a new facility somewhere, Harding said. With the economy the way it is now, those options are changing, he added.
ABOUT THIS RIDICULOUS COMMENT FROM MR HARDING: It has to fit within our current city budget.
THE YELM TIMBERLAND REGIONAL LIBRARY (TRL) IS A REGIONAL LIBRARY FUNDED BY PROPERTY TAXPAYERS FROM ALL OVER THIS LIBRARY’S TAXING DISTRICT & DOES NOT DERIVE FUNDING JUST FROM TAXPAYERS IN THE CITY OF YELM! ANY LIBRARY FACILITY’S SOLUTION REQUIRES A REGIONAL APPROACH. THE CITY’S RESPONSIBILITY IS TO TAKE THE LEAD ON A FACILITY THAT WOULD SERVE THE GREATEST NUMBER OF CONSTITUENTS IN THE AREA. THE CITY HAS PREVIOUSLY INDICATED THEY WOULD LIKE THAT STRUCTURE HOUSED IN WITHIN THE YELM CITY LIMITS.
WHY WOULD AN EXTENDED LEASE OF 3-5 YEARS GIVE THE CITY OF YELM ENOUGH TIME TO DEVELOP A PLAN?
THE CITY OF YELM & MOST CURRENTLY SITTING ON THE CITY COUNCIL HAVE DONE LITTLE TO NOTHING FOR THE 10 YEARS THEY HAVE KNOWN OF THIS EXEMPTION, AND THAT WAS DURING YEARS OF AN ECONOMIC BOON IN THEIR BUDGET, WITHOUT THE BUDGET CHALLENGES THE CITY FACES TODAY. LET’S BE CLEAR HERE, TAHOMA TERRA WITHDREW THEIR OFFER TO PROVIDE LAND AT A REDUCED PRICE TO THE CITY FOR A LIBRARY FACILITY LONG BEFORE THEY FOLDED. THE CITY NEVER GOT OFF SQUARE ONE WITH THE TAHOMA TERRA OFFER BECAUSE NO AGREEMENT ON THE REDUCED-PRICED LAND OFFER WAS REACHED NOR MOVED BEYOND THE COUNCIL’S CLOSED-DOOR SESSIONS FOR PUBLIC CONSIDERATION.
Comments were made by several in attendance at the Friends of the Library meeting about how the city seems to have no idea of the importance and the value of the library in the community.
Former library manager Kristen Blalack agrees.
I have long been disappointed and frustrated by the lack of interest and support expressed by the City of Yelm for its library and I believe that its up to the citizens of the city to generate that political will, Blalack said. A strongly vocal advocate for the library has been singularly lacking, largely, I think, because people take the librarys existence for granted.
I ABSOLUTELY CONCUR WITH MS. BLALACK!
I MET WITH MR. CROSE, TRL FOUNDATION & SEVERAL OTHER TRL OFFICIALS WHEN I WAS ON THE YELM LIBRARY BOARD WAY BACK IN 2007 ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE YELM LIBRARY BEYOND 2012. THE STORY WAS ALWAYS THE SAME — THERE WAS NO VISION OR DIRECTION AS REQUIRED BY TRL OF THE CITY OF YELM TO PROVIDE A PUBLIC FACILITY BEYOND 2012. IN 2006, MY WIFE & I COMMITTED TO WORK TO RAISE FUNDS & UNITE THE COMMUNITY TO GET A PUBLIC FACILITY OFF THE GROUND HERE, BY PLEDGING UP TO $25,000 IN MATCHING FUNDS FOR EACH DOLLAR RAISED. WE RECEIVED SILENCE FROM THE CITY.
John Thompson, Prairie Park property manager and Yelm council member, was not able to divulge any of the details of the negotiations.
Everybody will be pleased, he said.
MR THOMPSON SHOULD RECUSE HIMSELF FROM THE LIBRARY ISSUE, AS THERE IS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST WITH HIS BEING PRAIRIE PARK’S PROPERTY MANAGER AND ON THE CITY COUNCIL THAT WILL VOTE ON RENTING IN HIS FACILITY. MR. MCGOWAN SHOULD ALSO RECUSE HIMSELF, SINCE HE IS EMPLOYED IN THE YELM LIBRARY BY TRL.
THE YELM LIBRARY BOARD’S REPORT TO THE MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL, TAXPAYERS & PATRONS OF MARCH 25, 2008 HAS BEEN AND REMAINS THE SINGLE MOST COMPLETE DOCUMENT OUTLINING THE ISSUES HERE FOR THE PUBLIC.
CLICK HERE to read for yourself.
MR. MAYOR, MAY GOD BLESS YOU DURING THESE CHALLENGING TIMES, HOWEVER, CONTINUING TO RENT IN A PRIVATE FACILITY FOR A FEW MORE YEARS ONLY “KICKS THE FOOTBALL DOWN THE ROAD” AGAIN, LIKE THIS COUNCIL HAS DONE FOR NIGH A DECADE.
YOU REALLY WANT TO DO SOMETHING TO HAVE A PUBLIC LIBRARY HERE?
I RECOMMEND THAT YOU FORM A COMMISSION LED BY A RESPECTED BUSINESS LEADER WHO HAS THE EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE TO UNITE ALL FACTIONS THAT WOULD SUPPORT A YELM LIBRARY, BRINGING THEM TOGETHER TO WORK FOR A COMMON GOAL – TO HAVE A FIRST CLASS PUBLIC LIBRARY FACILITY IN YELM FOR OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS. THAT PERSON NEEDS TO BE A MOTIVATED SPEAKER THAT CAN COMMUNICATE & ARTICULATE EFFECTIVELY WITH THE PUBLIC AT LARGE!
ALL OF THESE GROUPS NEED TO BE REPRESENTED ON THIS COMMISSION:
– TIMBERLAND REGIONAL LIBRARY COMMUNITY RELATIONS OFFICIAL
– YELM LIBRARIAN MIKE WESSELLS
– YELM LIBRARY BOARD REP.
– COUNTY PROPERTY TAXPAYER REPRESENTATIVE
– CITY TAXPAYER REPRESENTATIVE
– TRL FOUNDATION REP.
– FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REP.
– FREQUENT PATRONS REPRESENTATIVE
– GENERAL PUBLIC REP.
THERE HAS BEEN NOTHING DONE TO UNITE OUR COMMUNITY FOR OUR LIBRARY’S FUTURE. PERIOD!
ANYTHING LESS NOT INVOLVING ALL OF THESE INTERESTED PARTIES WILL JUST FIZZLE UNDER THE WEIGHT OF A LACK OF UNITY, VISION, INDECISIVENESS, INACTION & DOUBT, ALL OF WHICH HAVE BEEN ATTRIBUTES THAT HAVE US IN THE PICKLE WE’RE IN 2+ YEARS BEFORE THE CURRENT YELM LIBRARY LEASE ENDS!
The NVN published my Letter to the Editor on this issue in their January 22, 2010 print edition.