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“TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT”
THIS WEEK: Yelm Library update

“TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT”

We are now 45 days from the future of the Yelm Library building structure being 100% in the hands of the City of Yelm. Timberland Regional Library’s contract with the city for the building lease ends December 31, 2011.

You will recall Yelm’s Mayor Ron Harding presented a plan to the TRL Board of Directors in late April 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 (up to $37,000 per year) through the bond’s term. TRL conditionally accepted the proposal.

Mayor Harding told the Yelm Chamber of Commerce in his 2012 Budget Review last week this project is of primary importance for the city. However, the Mayor has NEVER said how this project will be funded, only that the city could afford to spend $600,000 on the facility, yet is financing $1 million for the library purchase.

Last week, the city received a very generous donation of $25,000 from fundraisers by the Friends of the Library, bringing the total amount in the city’s Library Building Fund to $30,000, far short of the $400,000 needed to bring the city’s debt burden for the structure down to the Mayor’s stated, affordable cost of $600,000. HMMM!

Timberland Regional Library (TRL) Director Michael Crose told the Yelm Community Blog last August that an agreement between TRL and the City of Yelm for services should be finalized by the end of September [2011].

From the City of Yelm:

Given the public has heard nothing of an agreement being signed, the Yelm Community Blog asked the City of Yelm last week the status and received this reply:
“The City is currently meeting with Timberland Regional Library and Prairie Park facility owner, but no contracts have been finalized to date.”

From Timberland Regional Library:

So, this Blogger then went to TRL Director Crose for his update. His reply:
“The only thing that I can say is that the ball is in the City’s court. TRL worked through a proposed building maintenance agreement with Shelly [City Administrator Badger]. We agreed to the changes the City asked for and sent it back for approval. That happened a couple of weeks ago. We have not seen an approved copy ready for TRL Board action.”

“I will say that if TRL gets the contract back and fully executed, we will begin paying for heat, lights and water as well as janitorial services beginning January 1, 2012.”

The local newspaper reported this week that “Harding said negotiations are going well with Timberland Regional Library System and property owner Margaret Clapp.”

Questions remain:
– Been 7 months since Harding presented the plan to purchase Clapp’s facility at her asking price to the TRL Board, without consulting his own City Council, which they later approved.
What could take so long to getting a signed contract when seller & buyer agreed on the price?

– Mayor Harding still to date has not communicated how the city is going to fund the $1 million purchase and what this kind of bonding (debt) this means for his city’s property owners.
Remember:
Yelm has had a contract with Timberland going back decades that the City of Yelm will supply a building for the area’s library. Harding told the public the city could only afford to spend $600,000 for a facility and then ponied up the $1.2 million proposal, which was subsequently lowered to $1 million by the owner.

In closing:
Keven Graves is quoted from his November 25, 2005 editorial in the local newspaper:
“We (he & then Mayor-elect Harding) agree that a transparent government is better government.”

There were other options for a less costly & smaller library, none ever discussed with the public.
The Yelm public has been hoodwinked into believing that Clapp’s building wa the ONLY way for the library to remain viable here, yet may prove to be too large and too expensive when purchased.
The debt burden on Yelm’s property owners has yet to be publicly disclosed!

– An unaware and uninvolved public are Yelm City Council’s greatest allies in carrying forth their agenda.

Posted by Steve on November 14, 2011 at 6:21 am | Permalink

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