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Yelm Timberland Regional Library

City of Yelm taxpayers will officially authorize the funds for the library condo purchase tonight!

UPDATE: Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 3pm
This action item on tonight’s Yelm’s City Council Agenda was removed today without explanation.
In writing to the the City of Yelm for an explanation since none was explained publicly, an official wrote “the documents were not ready to come before Council that evening.”
Interesting, because they certainly were posted on the city’s website prior to the meeting.
Why would the mayor not officially go on the public record saying this item, 8B was removed?
Why does the public have to find out about the reason for a public agenda change in the local newspaper?

From the Yelm City Council Agenda & Staff Report for tonight’s Agenda:

To: Mayor Ron Harding
Yelm City Council
From: Grant Beck, Community Development Director
Date: March 15 (for March 27, 2012 City Council Meeting)
Subj: Purchase and Sale Agreement – Timberland Regional Library

“Authorize Mayor Harding to sign a purchase and sale agreement for the purchase a condominium unit within the Fay Fuller Building at Prairie Park for $1,000,000.00 (one million dollars), subject to approval of the final declaration of condominium and covenants, conditions, and restrictions by Mayor Harding.”

“The building will be divided into three units, the largest of which is the library, at approximately 10,000 square feet including the loft and first floor lobby. The library space represents approximately 59% of square footage of the entire building.”

Editor’s Note:
Not mentioned in the Staff report is the interest expense and other Yelm taxpayer expenses totaling $2,275,000 in bonds to acquire the library portion of the building and to purchase other property and capital improvements that include an additional one million dollars for a city owned community center, for which the public was not informed. The Yelm taxpayers knew only they were buying a $1 million library condo!

Something that should be celebrated here will garner nothing more than a yawn, due to almost a year of hype. Yet, a regional library is a wonderful thing for our area.

However, the city’s purchase of a less-than-satisfactory, second-floor and way-to-large condo just to appease former lessor Margaret Clapp is poli-tics as usual in Yelm. “I’ll rub your back if you’ll rub mine.” So, Clapp lowered the asking price by $200,000 from $1.2 million and called that her “gift”, IF Harding agreed to buy her condo.

You can see that with the library comprising almost 2/3 of Clapp’s building she would have alot of vacant space if the library went elsewhere, seeing how there are so many other unoccupied, commercial facilities in Yelm. Knowing what I know from my experience with the library, I am certain Clapp’s “full-court press” was on Harding to do any-thing to keep her building’s 2nd floor occupied. Harding threw a “Hail Mary’ pass last April to the Timberland Regional Library Board about purchasing Clapp’s condo, all without prior consultation or authorization with his own city council. That takes alot of hubris!

Donors saw through the smokescreen of Mayor Harding’s request for the greater Yelm community to contribute to defray the $1 million cost of the condo, and raised only $30,000. There were no fundraising goals nor was Harding forthcoming to the public at the time of what the costs would be. Harding would never publicly disclose the other options he and city staffers investigated as library facility options. Further, Harding never galvanized the entire library patron area to join in this effort, rather divided the community between Yelm patrons and those not living within the city limits. And now, the library fundraising effort’s leader Glen Nutter will be leaving Yelm for his philanthropy work in Africa.

Then former US Presidential candidate Bo Gritz & decorated Green Beret Veteran was in Puget Sound in the early 1990’s & I went to hear his talk. He said,
“I have only 2 things to say about politics:
Poli means many &
Tic is a blood-sucker”

Mayor Harding’s handling of the whole library issue going back 7 years in which I have been involved, has been Yelm poli-tics as usual!

Gary Varvel, Indianapolis Star

Yelm Community Blogger Klein is a former mayor appointee to the Yelm Library Citizens Advisory Board and subsequently that Board’s selected Chair.

Posted by Steve on March 27, 2012 at 5:22 am | Permalink

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