They wanted it, they should pay for it
I have been writing letters to the editor, and personally meeting with the mayor and City Council regarding the library cost question, for several years. Now they have announced another cost increase per the latest statement from Debbie Joyner, the library’s fundraising consultant.
In 2009, the city librarian stated that a city of Athens’ size should have 25,000 square feet for a library to meet future needs. They have exceeded that by 50 percent due to the unreasonable position of the library board of trustees. They don’t care what it costs as long as they get their way.
Ms. Joyner stated just a few months ago that operating costs would only slightly increase. At that time, I wrote that it would substantially increase.
The mayor stated to the library trustees, the City Council, and personally to me, three years ago, that the city would pay a maximum of $120,000 towards the new library’s operating expenses. This was when the city and county told the trustees that the proposed library’s size of 39,000 square feet was unnecessary and 24,000 square feet was the maximum justified size to handle the projected Athens population. That would leave 14,000 square feet to use for other city offices and other city activities.
Since the trustees refused to agree with the city’s proposal, they should take responsibility for all the excess operating, and construction costs. The trustees want it, let them pay for it.
The city has many increasing and necessary expenses that the taxpayers must consider. The mayor, if he is a man of his word, should limit the contribution to the library’s operating costs to $120,000. All government bodies — local, state and national — have had to make major adjustments due to the economy. This must also include the library board of trustees.
What is the library’s board of trustees going to do if some of the donors fail to meet their donation pledges? You need to ask for the detailed basis for their financial figures and long-term effects of this cost.
What are the citizens’ honest feelings regarding this kind of expenditure based on a fund raising consultant’s opinion whose only job is to raise money, not justify the need or basis for the need?
Taxpayers take some time to question the use of our funds. City Councilman Joe Cannon has the right idea. Let’s evaluate, in depth, the expenditure of our funds.
Quentin D. Anderson Sr.