Ten years after the City of Yelm was given an exemption to operate the public library in a private, rented building by Timberland Regional Libraries (TRL) in a shared-lease concluding December 31, 2011, the city finally agreed Wednesday night to purchase a facility.
Mayor Ron Harding presented a plan to the TRL Board of Directors where the city would purchase the existing library space on the 2nd floor of the Prairie Park Building for $1 million dollars through a 20-year bond, with TRL paying the annual O & M expenses ($37,000 per year) through the bond’s term. TRL has conditionally accepted the proposal.
Prior to the TRL Board meeting, the mayor presented to Board members his plan calling for Yelm and TRL to split the cost of a facility, which TRL was preparing to decline, citing the city’s contractual responsibility to house a public library and TRL’s bonding limitation.
TRL Director for Thurston County Emmett O’Connell sent an e-mail to those on his e-list on Tuesday, April 26, at 5:30pm, the day prior to Mayor Harding’s presentation before the TRL Board saying:
“First, I absolutely think the Yelm Library should stay where it is. I also think the current location should be publicly owned and not leased from a private landlord. Where my views changes is how exactly we should get to a publicly owned Yelm library at the current location.
Unless something changes about the current proposal [Harding’s $1.2 million to remain at Prairie Park with TRL paying half of the tab = $600,000], I will vote against it. I can’t speak for the rest of the board, but I don’t expect the proposal will be successful. The reason is that Timberland, like every other rural library district, can not bond for a period longer than six years. This means we would either need to take the entire cost proposed by the city off the top of our budget or bond it out over six years at a cost of more than $100,000 annually.”
With TRL’s Board member O’Connell saying the library should be in a public building provided by the city and the Mayor’s Plan unable to be considered because of TRL’s 6-year bonding maximum, Mayor Harding knew Tuesday evening his proposal for the city to split the $1.2 million cost with TRL to purchase the facility was “dead-in-the-water”. Harding missed the Tuesday City Council meeting and with several library supporters present and commenting to the Council, Mayor Pro-tem Isom told those gathered there “WILL” be a library in Yelm, though he said the space may be smaller than the current one.
Thanks to Margaret Clapp lowering the price of the 2nd-floor by $200,000 (16.7%) to keep her building from being mostly vacant, the mayor presented a previously-unannounced proposal to TRL’s Board Wednesday evening for the City of Yelm to finally purchase a public library facility, one that the city had a contractual agreement to provide for 10+ years.
In the end, the City of Yelm was obviously not “crippled” and finally DID “cover the costs of the current situation” (to buy the 2nd floor at Prairie Park).
TRL conditionally accepted the agreement where the city will pay approx. $16,000 over the annual budgeted $58,000 per year for the length of the 20-year bond. Financing the purchase means approx. $74,000 per year X 20 years = $1,480,000 expense.
There was a concern expressed during the Board meeting from an Olympia resident that public-process was omitted about the Yelm library developments. That echoes what has previously been stated on this blog.
The community’s support for a quality library here was strong.
CONGRATULATIONS TO MAYOR HARDING & THE YELM CITY COUNCIL IN FINALLY COMMITTING TO THEIR CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT (FROM OVER 10 YEARS AGO) TO PROVIDE A PUBLIC LIBRARY FACILITY FOR THE GREATER YELM COMMUNITY!
NOW IS THE TIME FOR THE YELM-LIBRARY COMMUNITY TO COME TOGETHER TO MAKE OUR LIBRARY A JEWEL FOR OUR AREA – FOR THE FUTURE AND OUR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES!