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Yelm Timberland Regional Library
Photo courtesy of Guustaaf Damave

On January 1, 2002, the Timberland Regional Library (TRL) entered into a 10 year contractual agreement with the City of Yelm granting the city an exemption to operate TRL’s Yelm branch in a private building, where the city & TRL would split the rent while a public facility could be procured.

“On July 17, 2002, the Yelm Library opened in a new, much larger library in the Fay Fuller Building in the Prairie Park development. The library was located in the Yelm City Hall from May 1975 until 1992. On August 18, 1992, the library moved to new expanded quarters in City Hall, quoting the TRL site.

Outside of a donated building in Montesano, there are no other facilities in the 19-library TRL system that operate in non-public buildings, except Yelm.

On February 9, 2010, Mayor Harding discussed the future of a library in Yelm at his State of the City address to the Yelm Chamber of Commerce saying the City of Yelm will support a library here, however not to the size & stature to which the community has grown accustomed [Yelm’s library in Prairie Park]. He said though the city will no longer have TRL’s partnership on paying rent at the end of the current agreement, he would keep the public informed about the status of several ideas, including extending the current rental lease 3-5 years while an alternative site is searched. There has been a little cursory action by the city on acquiring a Yelm public library building during the last 8 years of the TRL exemption.

According to the Nisqually Valley News on January 10, 2010,
“‘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 suggesting the two entities extend the lease three to five years, at a new negotiated rate, and split the cost.”

The TRL Board of Directors met on Wednesday, March 31 and in public action, considered Mayor Harding’s proposals and will honor their contract with the City of Yelm to provide service from the current location through December 31, 2011. However, the TRL Board agreed that after the conclusion of the current contract, the city will be responsible to provide an appropriate library facility.

Also, in the NVN article of January 10, 2010,
“‘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.’

Tax monies for a library collected from property owners in the City of Yelm and outside city limits are public funds and should not be used to pay library rent in a private building after 2011.
This is especially true if the city were considering to rent library space in the current facility owned by Margaret Clapp and operates with a city council member as her property manager and where another city council member is a TRL employee.
The conflict of interest would be blatant for the City of Yelm to continue using public funds to pay rent in the Fay Fuller Building (Prairie Park) beginning in 2012 and to continue there without TRL’s partnership would be imprudent.
If the city DOES continue to rent library space in 2012 & beyond while looking for a pubic building, they should do so in another structure other than Clapp’s Fay Fuller Building, even using the former Police Station if no other options are available.

City of Yelm officials have 1 3/4 years before the future of a library building here will fall solely in their hands!

UPDATE: Friday, April 30, 2010
Published in the NVN:
The current lease is for about $140,000 a year for a state-of-the-art 8,962 square-foot facility…

The city can afford roughly $50,000 a year to put toward a library facility, city officials said…

Harding said the city submitted a proposal to Timberland extending the facilitys lease to give time to come up with a solution.

The proposal reduces the operation cost of the facility by 35 percent. The city would pay half. It cut Timberlands costs by 60 percent.

‘I wish they would have accepted the proposal,’ Harding said.

As we work on the budget, well try to shift some things around, Harding said. ‘Well have to try to find something within the citys budget.’

Harding said he plans to form a community group to try to come up with a solution.”

Ed. Note: The Mayor just doesn’t want to ‘get it.
The issue is NOT about cutting costs in his friend’s Margaret Clapp’s rented facility.
The issue is the library is to be in a public building – period.

Posted by Steve on April 5, 2010 at 5:12 am | Permalink

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