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There sure is alot of hype in the local newspaper, Facebook & around town about “Mayor Harding’s Plan” to purchase the 2nd floor of current library facility in Prairie Park’s Fay Fuller Bldg. in a “condo-type” arrangement.
I am not so mesmerized!
This Plan raised more questions than were answered!

Yes, I know that many call me an antagonist for speaking-up on this & other issues, however those that know me will tell you I do my homework to gather all of the facts. I have over a decade of Yelm Library support, both as a volunteer-former-citizen-board member and Chair & as a large contributor.
Here are just a few observations I noticed:

1. Mayor Harding wants TRL to foot part of the bill for buying the “condo-space”.
Hmmm – has TRL been presented with that idea?
TRL Director Michael Crose was conspicuously absent from such a huge announcement Tuesday, nor did the Mayor mention TRL’s position on his Plan. Harding only said the city will ask TRL to contribute some funds to the purchase of the facility – future-tense. This means TRL has not yet been contacted about this.
Afterall, TRL is the area’s partner to supply library services.
Why were they omitted at the Mayor’s address?

2. Outside financing is required – though Mr. Harding did not mention how much or what that entails, except the community will be asked for donations.

3. Buying into Prairie Park means the library is forever wedded to Margaret Clapp’s Fay Fuller Building.
Win-win for her.
However, let’s do a tally on a few items that will be pushed onto the backs of taxpayers:
– financing & interest debt on a condo
– owners’ insurance on the condo floor-space
– probable monthly maintenance fees, likely to be raised at the end of a contractual period.
– 2nd floor building upkeep.
While many of these items will admittedly be involved in any purchased structure, a condo has additional monthly maintenance fees that will differ from an outright building purchase.

4. The City is committing to have their library housed permanently on a 2nd floor, instead of a usual ground floor for easy public access as in most all libraries.
Is that REALLY what we want for the future here?

Interesting that Nisqually Valley News Publisher/Editor Keven Graves jumped on the “band-wagon” in his Op-Ed today without any of the aforementioned issues being properly vetted in the newspaper. Property taxpayers who support the Library would be wise to press the media, Mayor & City Hall to slow-down, take a breather and gather all of the facts prior to supporting the Mayor’s Plan, about which the public knows nothing.

Yelm’s City Hall has a long track-record of alot of hype for high-profile projects where proper “due diligence” was not thoroughly completed, leaving the taxpayer footing the bills.

These are just some, to name a few as examples
LID financing required a higher rate, since no one wanted to buy the bonds when the economy soured.

– Hundreds of thousands owed to the City of Yelm from the bankrupt Thurston Highlands project, a development which the city never filed liens for taxes/invoices owed.

– The city never had a contract to get repaid for their pro-rata share of the Thurston Highlands/Golder Water Study. Taxpayers paid that one, too.

– Seizing a citizen’s water rights and the 10’s of thousands of dollars spent in legal fees.

– Taking over the golf course well for the bankrupt developer & being required to pay over $1.5 million to rehabilitate the well for public use. Instead, the well sits capped.

In the Mayor’s talk, we heard nothing about other library options considered, only this one was comparable to other options looked-at.
Other options were all on a non-advantageous 2nd floor of a building?
Was there an investigation on buying the soon-to-be-vacant Yelm Family Medicine Bldg.?
Was remaining in the Fay Fuller Bldg. REALLY the best option?
If so, why?
Just because a move is prevented does not answer the question.

Bottom Line:
While I am a strong supporter of our Library, I will not join Mr. Harding, Mr. Graves & others in their glee until I have all of the facts, facts which are yet forthcoming. I am interested in TRL’s official response as well, who seemingly were left-out of the Plan’s planning.

While I applaud Mayor Harding for the Condo concept being a unique idea, let’s “kick-the-tires” & “check-out the sticker-price” first and compare, just like how we each purchase a car.
Otherwise trumpeting the “Mayor’s Library Plan band-wagon” is mere folly.

Oh, and property taxes are going-up here, too, which will also add to the Library’s bottom-line costs!

Posted by Steve on February 11, 2011 at 12:15 am | Permalink

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