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Library leaders moving forward with expansion design plans
Now that the one detail of $18 million is out of the way, leaders of the Lawrence Public Library are excited to be moving on to more specifics about the planned expansion of the facility.
Read more about the details and timeline for the next few years.
Library vote dissected
A wrap up of election results shows the Lawrence Public Library bond issue found good support in all areas of town, but opposition was more likely on the west side of the city. A total of 13 of the 49 Lawrence precincts voted against the library proposal, but none had negative votes that registered 60 percent or more. That was in contrast to 10 precincts that supported the library to the tune of 70 percent or more.
For more stats on the library vote, read the Nov. 3 Town Talk post.
A week after voters approved an $18 million expansion of the Lawrence Public Library, city commissioners were accused of going too far in trying to persuade the public to vote for the issue.
Jim Mullins, the local field representative for Americans for Prosperity, told commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting that a flier inserted into city utility bills prior to the Nov. 2 election was an improper attempt to sway voters rather than provide objective information about the library bond issue.
“It was a complete puff piece,” said Mullins, who was a chief opponent of the bond issue. “If you’re going to do that type of piece, you ought to let the other side have their say too.”
In the bills leading up to the election, the city allowed the Lawrence Public Library Board to insert a flier into the city’s water, sewer and trash bills. The fliers listed growth statistics related to the library and provided information about “why the project is needed,” its costs and what would happen if the referendum failed.
City Manager David Corliss said the flier was deemed to be appropriate because it was an educational piece and was not advocating that residents vote in favor of the bond issue.
“We certainly tried to follow the law,” Corliss said. “The law says we can provide information but not provide advocacy.”
Mullins, though, said the piece crossed the line in several areas, especially by stating that if the bond issue failed “the use of the library will continue to outpace the building’s capacity and the library’s needs will be deferred to a future date.”
“You don’t know that,” Mullins said.
He said such a statement was an assumption, not a fact. And he said it was an assumption that was in dispute by some library bond opponents who believe library usage will slow due to new electronic book technology.
Mullins also objected that the flier was paid for by taxpayer dollars. As previously reported, the Library Board paid the city $600 to have the flier printed.
Mullins said he understood there was nothing that could be done about the issue now, but he wanted city commissioners to consider passing a policy regarding the use of such fliers in future city referendums.
Commissioners made few comments about Mullins concerns, but rather asked Corliss to prepare a response to the issues raised.