Archive for Thursday, January 26, 2006

Library lobbies chamber members about new building

Vote set on $2.99 million bond issue

January 26, 2006

Officials from the Basehor Community Library thanked local business leaders Thursday morning for their past support.

And they weren't shy about asking for more support in the future.

"Especially as it pertains to bond issues," said John Flower, a new member of the Library Board of Trustees.

Flower and library director Carla Kaiser worked in tandem at Thursday's breakfast meeting of the Basehor Chamber of Commerce to outline aspects of the library's upcoming bond issue.

During a Feb. 28 vote, patrons will be asked to authorize $2.99 million, which would pay for a new 13,400-square-foot building on 158th Street, between Parallel and U.S. Highway 24-40. The new building would replace the downtown library, which is extremely cramped and has problems such as inadequate bathrooms and limited parking.

This year's bond issue is a pared-down version of a bond issue that voters in the 50-square mile library district rejected in 2004. The price tag is lower by about $860,000 and so tax implications are reduced.

Although final tax numbers were not available during Thursday's meeting, Kaiser said the library's bond council finalized figures later that day. Estimates released to chamber members Thursday closely resemble the final tax outlook.

According to the library, an approved bond issue would raise the library mill levy by 0.787 of 1 mill. The current mill levy is 3.239 mills. A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed property valuation.

An approved bond issue would result in tax increases of:

¢ $9.05 annually for the owner of a $100,000 home.

¢ $18.10 annually for the owner of a $200,000 home.

¢ $27.15 annually for the owner of a $300,000 home.

One prominent Basehor businessman, who was skeptical of the previous bond issue, remarked Thursday that the current draft is a much sounder, reasonable approach to expanding library services.

The bond issue is the library's response to limitations in space and its collection at the existing 3,500-square-foot building downtown. Library officials also say the building, which has housed operations for two decades, is "unsafe and unhealthy."

"The solution is a new library," Flower said.

Library officials reiterated to chamber leaders their intention to run a "factual, straight-forward" campaign.

They said they will utilize street signs, flyers and advertisements for the bond issue. And, while that campaign strategy may sound sparse, all lobbying efforts leading to Election Day will emphasize the theme behind the push for a new library.

"You deserve better," Flower said. "Quite frankly, we're just not getting what we deserve."

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