Letter: Linke, thank you for your support | SkyHiNews.com

Letter: Linke, thank you for your support

Thank you for your support

Thank you to everyone who helped with my re-election campaign. I appreciate all the support, from petition circulators to volunteers hanging up signs and ultimately to all the voters who supported me on the ballot. I will continue to work for the best Grand County future, and as always, welcome hearing your input and concerns. Thanks for your support,

Merrit Linke

Grand County District II Commissioner

Take a deeper look at the finances

Naturally, here in Hot Sulphur Springs, we reacted strongly when we read in the April 22 newspaper that there was a plan by the Grand County Library District (GCLD) to close our library. This news led me to look more closely at how the $2,149,894 library budget is divided. Grand County as a whole, and not just Hot Sulphur Springs should look at how these funds are proposed to be spent.

Some points to consider:

• I appreciate that in a Letter to the Editor of the Sky-Hi News, Jill Miles, former GCLD Trustee, brings up finances. It is true that the proposed mill levy increase in 2013 did not pass. It is also true, as mentioned by GCLD that there has been no increase in the mill levy since the vote to create the Library District in 1994. What is not mentioned is that the 1994 voters never intended their tax money to be spent on $5,950,000 (2015 Auditor’s Report) in construction loans. The District was formed to provide for the selection, organization, and distribution of books and other materials to residents and visitors to the District (2015 Auditor’s Report).

• Something else to take a look at: If the budget was in such need of increased funds in 2013 why did the library district hire a new full time employee and two part time employees to work in Administration in 2015? Why was there an increase of $84,735 spent on personnel from 2014 to 2015?

• Why is the organization so top heavy with close to half of the budget, after subtracting the $311,863 building debt payment, being spent on Administration?

• In a survey completed in 2014 the tax paying citizens of Grand County responded that they most wanted “more library open hours”. GCLD has stated that they are honoring that desire but the budget timeline says otherwise. The “Proposed Timeline for Response to Budget Crisis” presented at the 6-21-16 GCLD Board meeting includes “July 2016 Branch Closure” and “January 2018 Kiosk Model (Juniper and Kremmling)”. A close examination at where other cuts could be made in the budget is essential before closing an entire branch of the library and turning two other branches into “kiosks”.

Merilyn Hunter

Hot Sulphur Springs

In response to the Davidson letter

This is in response to a letter from Kerry Davidson that appeared in the Sky-Hi last week. Disclosure – I served on the GCLD board in 2005/6 representing West Grand. My wife Stephanie has been director of GCLD since 2014. My comments are my own, not approved or reviewed by anyone connected with GCLD.

Ms Davidson, In your letter to the Sky-Hi you complained that the current situation wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the “previous director and board deciding to build two libraries at once”. This was not some drunken mistake or wild act of hubris. In 2004 the GCLD was already committed to building a new library in Grand Lake. After Heemeyer’s bulldozer tore the town of Granby apart, the GCLD board received encouragement from the entire community to build a library that would help put the stench of Heemeyer behind us. Our own Freedom Tower if you will. This decision was taken after every effort had been made to gauge public support. Results were through the roof. Everyone supported the idea.

You complain about $137,000 in capital improvements. This is to provide new siding and roof sheathing for the Fraser library. According to my research Fraser Valley currently provides over $600,000 in funding to the GCLD. The town of Hot Sulphur Springs less than $20,000. The HSS library currently costs GCLD between $65,000 and $80,000. Rest assured that none of your tax dollars are contributing to any libraries outside the HSS town boundaries. This despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of library visits made by residents of HSS over the past 10 years have to libraries outside the town limits.

You refer to a new admin position. The position you refer to, Public Services Director, has been part of the GCLD for well over 10 years. Essentially for a period of around 9 months Stephanie had attempted to do that job in addition to her job as director.

Peter Ralph

Parshall

Please attend the GCLD meeting on July 19

I served on the Friends of the Grand County Library Board for six years with a guilty secret. I am fairly certain that in 1994 I did not vote to approve the formation of a county library district. At the time, I only used the small Kremmling Library, which I loved to visit. Why did we need a COUNTY library district? Thanks to the Friends, I visited all of the libraries and learned that a district system could be necessary and wonderful. And yes, Jill Miles, I did vote for the mill levy increase. On July 19, the Grand County Library District Board of Trustees plans to vote to close the Hot Sulphur Springs Library and to eventually reduce the Kremmling and Grand Lake libraries to ‘kiosks’, with checkout use only. No more guilt for me! We will have a library district and pay taxes for it, but some of us will have either no local library or extremely reduced services. What can we do? First, plan to attend the Board of Trustees meeting at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 19 at the Fraser Valley Library. Arrive early to sign up to speak. If you need to carpool, check at your library to see if someone else can provide a ride. In the meantime, contact the county commissioners and commissioner candidates. Also talk with your town officials. Give them your ideas and opinions and ask what they intend to do about this situation. Both the children and adults of Grand County need all five libraries. Cuts will be necessary, but should be uniform for all the branches. Shutting down the smallest library will not solve anything.

Nancy Abbott

Former president of the Friends of the Grand County Library


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