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PARK TOILETS SEPARATE ISSUE FROM LIBRARY BUILDING? THINK AGAIN…

Due to the phone calls & e-mails I have received on this over the weekend, this issue needs to be highlighted. Mr. Graves & Mayor Pro-tem Isom (May 11th in response to a citizen at the City Council meeting) have omitted a key fact in promulgating their Park Toilet funding stories to the public:
When the city went to our state legislators for a grant, the capital budget does not specify for what purpose the city will request & use that money at the outset.

Nisqually Valley News Editor/Publisher Keven Graves published an Op-Ed Friday titled “Time to focus on a new library” where he said,

“The issue of flush toilets for Longmire Park is entirely separate from the need for a library building in Yelm.
The grant for the Longmore toilets was designated specifically for that project. The money could not be used for anything other than the purpose designated by the grantor.”

Two things on this:
1. I have always said IF the city would have made a public library facility as much of a priority as public park toilets we would be well on our way to a wonderful public Yelm Library building. They have had 9 years to work on a library building, while Longmire Park toilets funding to ribbon cutting took three years.

2. Second-District Rep. Jim McCune wrote in his public newsletter:
“The capital budget (mechanism for the Longmire Park restrooms’ grant) provides funding for the construction and repair of public buildings and other long-term investments, such as land acquisitions and transfers. It is separate from the operating budget.”

When the city went to our state legislators for a grant, the capital budget does not specify for what purpose the city will request & use that money at the outset. The City of Yelm makes the specified request and once the city states the money is desired to be used for park toilets, only then is Graves correct when he says:
“The grant for the Longmore toilets was designated specifically for that project.
The money could not be used for anything other than the purpose designated by the grantor.”
ONLY after the city specifies for what project the grant will be used is the city then required to use the money specifically for the grant project.

The city could have initially requested a grant for a library building, yet instead, put their energies & priorities for a park toilets grant, full-well knowing the library lease was ending in 2011.
Yelm told our district’s state legislators, “We want money for ballpark toilets” and so that’s what locked in the purpose of the grant.

The ballpark toilets funding and the library building are totally connected, for this shows the city’s priorities when requesting state funds.

The city must have felt they would get TRL’s Board to agree to continue the lease partnership beyond 2012, what with Mayor Harding’s requests to TRL earlier this year for all sorts of extension options beyond the end of the library lease! So, the city put the library facility on the back-burner, while TRL officials have been up-front with city officials for years that they must provide a public building in 2012.
THAT was a major error on the city’s part.

So now you can see that yes, THE priority for ballpark toilets funding and the lack of priority for a library building are totally connected ! The city put their energies elsewhere for 9 years dragging their feet on a library building, all while devoting their energies to a park’s flushes.

Posted by Steve on August 2, 2010 at 6:18 am | Permalink

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One comment

  1. Hi Drew,

    Timberland Regional Library (TRL) provides library services to the residents of five counties in Southwest Washington State: Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Thurston Counties. TRL is an Intercounty Rural Library District and is funded by property taxes and revenue from timber sales in the 5-county area.

    Citizens voted in November, 1968 to unite the five counties into one library district, the Timberland Regional Library (TRL).

    TRL’s 19 regional libraries all agreed to house their facilities in Free Public Library buildings.
    They would have to change their charter to be in non-public buildings, which I do not see happening.
    17 other libraries all operate in public buildings and outside of Montesano whose library is in a donated building,
    Yelm is the ONLY library to use tax monies to pay rent in a private structure. The TRL Board met on March 31 and made their decision & denied Yelm’s request for a further extension in a leased facility.
    If they granted Yelm a further exemption to operate in a private building, several other libraries would want to do that, as well.
    Then, the library is not a free-public library & property taxes are specifically collected for a library’s facilities to be in public structures.

    The question of whether a library could be in a private structure and privatizing the library system would have to go before the voters. That has happened in other areas of the country. There has been no movement to do that here.
    So, Yelm’s library gets a major size reduction, staff will be reduced here, as well as the variety of offerings.

    Comment by Steve Klein on August 12, 2010 at 5:20 pm

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