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YELM LIBRARY’S FUTURE NOW 365 DAYS & COUNTING


Yelm Timberland Regional Library

OP-ED

Interesting that area property taxpayers & library patrons still have heard nothing about the future of the Yelm Timberland Regional Library (TRL) branch. The current lease in the private facility expires one-year from today & to remain in that building, the city will be fully responsible for the monthly rent if the library remains there, beginning January 1, 2012. The TRL Board agreed that Yelm’s library must be in a public building.

– As reported here on November 22nd:
Megan Hanson reported in the Nov. 19th Nisqually Valley News:
“The library budget was also increased to $53,000.

The city budgets money every year to help cover facility costs for the Yelm Timberland Library. This year the library budget increased about $6,000.”

– As reported here on April 5th:
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 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.”

KEY QUESTION:
The question this writer is often asked –
What will the city get with a budget of $50,000 rent per year for a library facility [Yelm is on their own a year from now], when they [TRL & City of Yelm jointly] pay $140,000 now?
Will current library locale & Prairie Park building owner Margaret Clapp offer the city a sweetheart deal to remain leasing space in her private building for a few years, collecting a low rent from the city rather than having her building mostly empty, while the city says they will look for a suitable public building?

BOTTOM LINE:
TRL’S AREA PROPERTY TAXPAYERS SUPPORT YELM’S LIBRARY THROUGH TAXES & HAVE A RIGHT TO AN UPDATE FROM MAYOR HARDING.
HIS CONTINUED SILENCE ON THIS ISSUE IS UNACCEPTABLE.

YELM’S LIBRARY IS FUNDED MORE BY THOSE PAYING TAXES IN UNINCORPORATED AREAS THAN IN THE CITY OF YELM.
WHILE MAYOR HARDING IS NOT ELECTED BY UNINCORPORATED AREA VOTERS NOR HAS JURISDICTION OVER THOSE PROPERTY OWNERS, HE DOES HAVE A FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY TO PROVIDE A PUBLIC LIBRARY IN YELM AS THE CITY AGREED & TO KEEP ALL OF THE TRL TAXPAYERS INFORMED OF THAT PROCESS.

Posted by Steve on December 31, 2010 at 12:31 am | Permalink

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One comment

  1. Thank you for reading the Yelm Community Blog & taking an interest, Art.
    Thank you also for writing on this subject.

    1. On you first comment, I updated my sentence to be more clear for you & other readers:
    What will the city get with a budget of $50,000 rent per year for a library facility [Yelm is on their own a year from now],
    when they [TRL & City of Yelm jointly] pay $140,000 now?

    2. The responsibility for providing a public facility in Yelm lies 100% at the city’s doorstep.
    That was the agreement the City of Yelm made in joining TRL many years ago & that County records support, as has previously been reported here.
    Vendetta against Mayor Harding?
    Wrongo in the Congo!
    Too bad so many facts point always point to him or Yelm’s City Hall regarding the city’s negligence on a whole host of issues.
    However, you are correct, Mayor Harding should not “carry all of the blame.”
    In the case of a public library building for Yelm, that responsibility goes to Mr. Harding AND the Yelm City Council. Harding was also a City Council member from 2001-2005 & knew all about this then.
    They all have known for 10 years this day was coming. Mayor Harding erred thinking he could persuade the TRL Board to continue the lease deal beyond 2011.

    3. Timberland has NOT kept us in the dark. They have spoken repeatedly about this issue for the 10 years since their Board approved an exemption for Yelm
    to operate a library in a leased building, publicly stating they will not participate in a lease beyond 2011. There are many, many entrees here over the last five years alone
    supporting that as fact. And several Nisqually Valley News stories, as well.

    4. Art, you say my “quote is your own and is mostly false and totally misleading?”
    Then-acting TRL Library Director Michael Crose told me last Summer:
    “The Library District paid for tenant improvements to Yelm’s Fay Fuller Building totaling $1,056,803.60 to turn the 2nd floor of this building into a library. That’s over one million dollars just to get the doors opened.
    While we have not completed 2010 yet, the Library District has expended $983,472.43 in rental lease payments from 2002-2010, which includes partial payments for the calendar year 2010.
    The lease for this year is budgeted at $175,000. That’s pushing over one million dollars in lease payments alone for the 9 years 2002-2010, inclusive.
    That’s over two million dollars TRL spent for Yelm’s library facility in almost 9 years.
    The city’s share of the rent for the period = $281,715.38.
    And all of this is for 8,600 square feet of space and for a library housed on a less-than-desirable second floor locale.
    No, TRL does not consider this a “sweetheart deal”. …

    “However, Yelm is the one that is getting a “sweetheart deal”.
    Yelm property taxpayers contributed $251,331 in property taxes for the lease period to date.
    With $730,157.22 in expenses to run the Yelm library, the “sweetheart deal” equates to almost $500,000 more in services Yelm’s taxpayers get, than what they paid in…

    Let’s look at this issue another way:
    $6,825,036 was collected in property taxes from all incorporated cities [within a city’s limits] for TRL libraries.
    $11.5 million was collected from unincorporated areas [outside a city’s limits].
    Total expenditures were $18,318,735
    So, one can clearly see that property tax participation from unincorporated areas in the TRL region far exceeded those in the cities.”
    Read the entire unabridged interview that was published here: http://yelm.com/2010/09/exclusive-interview-with-trl-d.html

    5. Quoting the September 10, 2010 Nisqually Valley News about Mr. Harding looking for County support:
    “Harding said he did bring the issue to the Thurston County Commissioners.

    ‘They dont have funds in their budget and they dont look at it as their responsibility,’ Harding said…

    Harding said the county has an annexation agreement with Yelm that says the city will provide any library services…

    [Ed. Note: this means this IS the City of Yelm’s contractual responsibility, Art.]

    Harding added that he wonders why the responsibility for a regional library lies in Yelms hands and not Rainiers, Teninos or any other citys hands.”

    The TRL Board addressed this: http://informedcommunity.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/one-thought-on-the-yelm-library-situation-not-really-any-more-regional-than-other-libraries/

    Comment by Steve Klein on January 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm

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