Agendas and Minutes

Citizen Library Advisory Ad Hoc Committee (View All)

Citizen Library Advisory Committee 12/13/07

Minutes
Thursday, December 13, 2007

Minutes

Citizen's Library Advisory Ad Hoc Committee

December 13, 2007

Guanajuato Room, Ashland Public Library

4:00-6:00 pm

 

Attendance:

Ashworth, Brown, Churchman, Vavra, Battistella, Keil, Gibb, Seltzer (city staff liaison), Blossom (library staff)

 

Absent:

Burkholder

 

Guests:

County Commissioner CW Smith, City Manager of Talent, Betty Wheeler

 

Audience:

Jim Olney, (Library Foundation), Anne Billiter, Wes Brain

 

Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order at 4:00 pm.  Vavra added one item to the agenda: report from Brown, agenda approved.

 

Citizen Issues:

Wes Brain commented that he is opposed to LSSI running the library.

 

Approval of Minutes:

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved by the committee.

 

Vavra welcomed and introduced County Commissioner Smith and invited him to comment on long term county funding options for the library system.

 

Smith explained that the future of the library system is dependant on sustainable funding.  It is possible that O&C funding will be extended but there is no guarantee.  If that funding is suspended completely, the county can operate comfortably for the next four years, if the funding is reauthorized, the county could operate for the next ten years.

 

Smith supports the formation of a special library district and feels it has worked well in Coos and Curry counties, however he does not feel the current political climate is friendly for additional taxes based on the failure of the past two library measures.  The mood is not popular among the general populace for increased taxes.  Possibly looking at 24 months in the future before exploring a special district and recommends extensive conversations with various communities to garner support for a special district.

 

When asked if the county would support a special district that might involve just the south valley (Ashland, Talent) he said he would be supportive.

 

Discussion about a federated library system: the county runs all central services associated with the county wide library system and each city funds its own library.  Smith agrees it is a good design as each library would reflect the desires of each individual city.

 

Keil wondered about incorporating the library system into the existing school district explaining that this would save costs associated with creating a new district and require less time.  The school district could appoint a Board to oversee the libraries. 

Smith was asked to comment on Jackson and Josephine Counties seeking a 2-county sales tax to fund county services.  Smith said only rudimentary research has been done.  A sales tax would eliminate property taxes designated for the county.  Budget committee is interested in this concept and will discuss at their December 19 meeting.  Initial estimates anticipate a less than 2% sales tax would suffice.

 

Vavra thanked Smith for his time and introduced Betty Wheeler, City Manager from Talent.

 

Wheeler spoke to Talent approach to fund the library by adding a utility fee to Talent utility bills.  The City Council felt that the Talent citizens had voted twice in favor of libraries and had ”°spoken”± of their support.  This is why they did not go out for a library levy but rather created the utility fee.

 

The $2 library utility fee generates enough revenue to keep the library open for 36 hours per week allowing students to access the library computers after school and in the evenings.

 

Wheeler feels that Talent would be reluctant to be included as a special district.  The tax rate is already high because of the Urban Renewal District which sunsets in 2019 though there is some push to dissolve it earlier.  She also commented that Talent voters might feel that they will loose their voice on any vote related to the special library district as Ashland voters outnumber Talent voters.  She also expressed concern that Special Districts often are disconnected with citizens.  City Councils and citizens are very connected to one another.

 

Committee member Brown gave an update to the committee on the recent County Library Advisory Committee.  The committee had invited representative from Oregon Solutions to speak to building county wide support for a new library levy and the process to build community consensus. 

 

The Ashland Library will host Greeters on January 4 at 8:15 a.m.

 

The committee briefly reviewed the list of alternatives and criteria sent by Ruth Metz.  The committee agreed that they must develop criteria by which to evaluate the various permanent funding and governance options. 

 

The Chair asked committee members to begin developing criteria for discussion at the next regular meeting.

 

Meeting Dates

December 20 žu study session

January 3 žu regular meeting

January 10 žu study session

January 17 žu regular meeting

January 24 žu study session

January 31 žu regular meeting.

 

Meeting adjourned 6:00 p.m.

 

 

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