Library supporters John Masterson and Randy Buffington suggest that we all get our facts straight before we vote on a new library so we can make a good decision. Great idea and I would suggest we start with output from the library.
My first letter on the library questioned the makeup of the so called “volunteer” committee. Since that letter was rebuked by a committee member, I've heard two members say they were asked to volunteer by library officials; one became chairman of the committee. Then I received a letter from a committee member who said I was right when I said the library stacked the deck.
Randy Buffington in a recent letter mentioned the great learning groups that meet at the library and have done so since the inception of libraries. Having been born in the 1920s and living my formative years across the street from a “Carnegie” library, I know that statement to be similar to what we hear from D.C. these days. (BS)
The library spent large sums of your money to pre-lobby the public on the needs of a new library. One of the three large mailings included a 15,000-person survey that a master statistician said was useless and was never made public.
The “Library Journal” magazine put out statistical data on new libraries built last year. I received a copy made locally. It was a statistical and monetary explanation of those new library costs and other data. The library published this data to justify the high cost of their proposed library. Any library employees that would publish such data should be shown the door.
The average construction cost of 59 new libraries built in 2011 was $288 a square foot. They omitted Tuscaloosa, Ala., because their cost was $8,592 a square foot. They also omitted one in the Bronx in New York at $1,170 a square foot (must be errors) but ...
They listed Las Vegas with a population of 90,000; Austin, Texas, 50,000; Dallas, 82,000; Waco, 35,000; Phoenix, 62,000; Little Rock, 23,000; Oakland, 35,000; and Denver 25,000; The numbers went both ways: Vancouver, Wash. (not Canada), 400,000.
Some of the library board and the citizen committee wanted to fund the library with a bond issue because they surmised the voters were too dumb to understand that bond issues were real taxes, plus $9 million in interest costs (see Casper Journal of May 2-8). The only reason they went with the 6th cent was to allow the collected tax to be increased over building costs by $4.5 million to pre-pay increased cost of the new library over the old and avoid the rough time the County Commission would have to budget an extra $.5 million a year to run the library. No one mentions what the hell happens budget-wise when the $4.5 million is gone in nine years.
Director Nelson said in the Star-Tribune on 3-22-12, this project was not a railroad job. Spending a life time in railroad service I would agree, the railroads do honest P.R.