Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Library Expansion Plan on April 2009 Ballot

The Plainfield Public Library District Board of Trustees voted on Monday, January 26th to place the Library’s expansion plan referendum on the April 7th ballot. Referring to polls of registered voters in July, December, and January, each with over 60% support placing the referendum on the ballot in April, Board President Sharon Kinley said, “This decision is not lightly made. We’ve polled our district three times. Every computer [at the library] is filled tonight. The need is great and now it’s up to the community.”

Casting the lone dissenting vote on the ordinance to place the referendum on the April ballot, Library Board Vice President Chris Awalt said, “You want to serve the community. The polls say yes to put it on [the ballot], but it is still a difficult decision.” Awalt cited the timing of the referendum as the reason for his dissenting vote. Following the vote, he said, “We’ve got to move forward.”

Trustee Dr. Patricia Miller asked, “If we wait a year [to place it on the ballot], do we let our voters down by not doing what the community wants? We don’t know what will come in a year. All we can do is let the community decide, let the voters decide.”

Trustee Rick Martin agreed. “We put it all together, now it’s time to let the people decide.”

So now it will be up to you, the voters. A citizens committee in support of the referendum has already formed and will hold their second meeting tonight at 7pm in the Library Storytime Room.

A Facts and Figures information sheet is available with answers to some common questions. Additional information will be available here and on the library's web site. Got a question that isn't answered here? Email me or call me at the library!

For an increase of $15 per month to the average homeowner, residents would enjoy four times the space and twice the services available at the Plainfield Public Library today. About $9 of the $15 per month cost would fund the construction and equipping of the new libraries, with the remaining $6 supporting operations - everything from programs to power to personnel. The $15 per month estimated increase is based on the median home value of $315,000 in the Village of Plainfield.

The expansion plan, designed to meet the needs of the community for the next 12-15 years, while being mindful of the impact on taxpayers includes:
  • 70,000 square foot library in downtown Plainfield
  • 30,000 square foot library in the north side of the district
  • Additional staff to operate the additional library
  • Increase of over 100% to the library collection: books, movies, music, and more
  • More than double the number of Internet PCs for public use
  • Increased free programming, particularly storytimes and computer classes
  • Computer classrooms in both libraries
  • More meeting space available to support local organizations and businesses
  • More cultural programs and events through partnerships with the Plainfield Park District and other organizations
  • More jobs during construction and when the new libraries open

The total cost of the planned expanded facilities and services is a tax rate increase of 0.1926%, with 0.1163% for Alternate Revenue Bonds and 0.0763% for operations. This will be offset by the maturation of the existing bonds, decreasing the library’s existing tax rate by 0.0120% in 2010. If it passes, the property tax increase will not appear on tax bills until 2010. The net increase to the library’s tax rate will be 0.1806%.

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