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The North Bend Eagle


 

Council, Library Foundation work on new agreement to build library

by Nathan Arneal
Published 7/28/10

The next step in building a new library in North Bend is the writing of a new agreement between the city and the Library Foundation.

The old agreement needs to be redone because several changes, including the location of the new library, have made it obsolete.

At its July 20 meeting, the City Council presented a draft of a new agreement to the Library Foundation for its consideration.

One of the main things the Council wants to see before agreeing to take over the new library from the Foundation is an estimate of operating and maintenance costs.

They cited an example of a town in eastern Nebraska whose city government was nearly bankrupt because it couldn’t afford the costs to maintain its new library.

The Foundation members present at the meeting seemed hesitant to provide an estimate and said they were concerned that the city would refuse to take over the library if operation costs exceeded the estimate.

“We can get an estimate,” Foundation member Mary Buller said. “However, there are so many variables that are included in this, such as hours of operation, the weather as far as heating and cooling costs, electricity, how many people are coming in and out of the building.”

Councilman Kevin Ferguson said the Council understands that costs will likely increase with the new building, but it wants an estimate of how much costs will increase before committing to paying something the city budget might not be able to handle. North Bend’s tax levy is already at its limit.

The Library Foundation will discuss the proposed agreement at its own meeting and give the Council its reply before the next council meeting. Once the Foundation approves the agreement, it can be approved by the Council.

In other business relating to the library, the Council discovered that state ordinances prohibit the sale of the current library building for less than its appraised value of $37,500. The city had received multiple bids for the library, but all were well short of the required amount.

The Council decided it will do more research on the matter to see if there is any way around the requirement. Action on the sale of the library building was tabled.

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