Advertisement

Archive for Sunday, October 10, 2010

Destination library: Voters will be asked to approve expansion of building, services

Members of the Miles family, in the foreground at right, read books in the children’s room of Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt., before checking them out Wednesday. “We come every Wednesday,” said Melanie Miles, 8, in pink. Next to Melanie, from left, are Levi, 3; their mother, Sandra Miles; and Jacob, 4, all from Lawrence.

Members of the Miles family, in the foreground at right, read books in the children’s room of Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt., before checking them out Wednesday. “We come every Wednesday,” said Melanie Miles, 8, in pink. Next to Melanie, from left, are Levi, 3; their mother, Sandra Miles; and Jacob, 4, all from Lawrence.

October 10, 2010

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of four stories centering on the proposal to expand the Lawrence Public Library. In the Nov. 2 election, voters will be asked to approve $18 million for the library, an amount that would be paid back through property taxes during the next 20 years.

Advertisement

Aron Cromwell’s knuckles soon will be put to the test.

$18 million library expansion will show up on Nov. 2 ballot

The plan for the 38-year-old building is cheaper than a plan proposed earlier this decade. Enlarge video

Priscilla Howe, Lawrence, sings “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” with the help of a puppet Saturday at the Lawrence Public Library’s River City Reading Festival. Next month, voters will decide the fate of a tax increase that would help fund an $18 million expansion of the library.

Priscilla Howe, Lawrence, sings “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” with the help of a puppet Saturday at the Lawrence Public Library’s River City Reading Festival. Next month, voters will decide the fate of a tax increase that would help fund an $18 million expansion of the library.

Lawrence voters will go to the polls on Nov. 2 to decide the fate of an $18 million proposal to expand Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.

Cromwell is confident it will pass because his knuckles tell him so.

Cromwell, a Lawrence city commissioner, was running for his first term in office in 2009 when he realized Lawrence voters were about as familiar with him as they were with the Mizzou alma mater. So, with his wife and son away from the house for about a month, he walked the city and knocked on 3,000 doors.

“I just asked them what they thought needed improvement in Lawrence, and the library was the number one issue they told me,” Cromwell said.

(Sidewalks were second, in case you’re wondering.)

So after winning his election, Cromwell started planting the seeds for another one. He became the commission’s liaison to the Lawrence Public Library Board and began preaching to the choir that the library needed an expansion.

Next month — more than a year after his knocking and several recession scars later — Lawrence voters will decide whether the library still ranks as high on their priority list. Even though the project would require a tax increase, Cromwell is betting that it will win because voters won’t like the alternative.

“We’re going to have to increase the amount of money we’re spending on the library because what we’re doing now is just not sustainable,” Cromwell said. “If the amount doesn’t go up, the service will have to go down. I don’t think that is something we’ll accept in this community.”

The plan

For those of you who have been following the library’s proposal about as closely as you followed “War and Peace” in literature class, here’s a review of what’s up for approval:

• The $18 million plan would require a property tax increase of 1.5 mills for 20 years to pay for the construction of the building. It would require another 0.5 mill increase to operate the larger library. A mill is one dollar in property tax for every $1,000 in assessed valuation. For the owner of a $170,000 home — which is about the average in Lawrence — a two-mill increase would be result in property taxes rising by about $39 per year.

• The library would grow by about 20,000 square feet to about 66,500 square feet, and all areas would be upgraded. The existing library would be extended about 30 feet closer to Vermont Street. New space also would stretch south down Vermont and into parts of the existing parking lot.

• The children’s area of the library would double in size and include a separate space for young adults.

• The amount of floor space for books and other items would increase by 20 percent in the expanded library.

• A three-level parking garage would be built on a portion of the current parking lot. The garage would have 250 spaces, up from 125 today. Parking would account for about $4.3 million of the project’s costs.

• Meeting space in the library would double, and would be arranged to allow for up to nine meeting rooms and six reading rooms, with some overlooking adjacent Watson Park.

• A drive-through book drop-off and service window would be added to the west side of the library.

• The reconfigured library would have room for 100 additional public access computers.

“Our goal is for the library to be warm and inviting,” said Bruce Flanders, director of the library. “I think people get that feeling now, but it mainly comes through the people who work here. With this, the building would fit that image better. It will be a place that is more of a destination.”

Flanders said he’s confident that if the expansion is completed, the library’s already-growing visitation numbers would experience a major spike.

“I would be very surprised if we didn’t see an increase of 25 percent in our usage in just a couple of years,” Flanders said.

The need

Growing numbers largely are at the heart of library leaders’ desire for a larger facility.

The predictable number that has grown is the age of the current library, which is at Seventh and Vermont street. It is now 38 years old, and Flanders frequently reminds people that Lawrence’s population back when the library was built is half the size it is today.

The less predictable number is 510,000. That’s the number of visits made to the library in 2009. The number was up 8 percent from 2008.

“It is an interesting paradox,” Flanders said. “We’re in an increasingly digital age, but our numbers are going gangbusters.”

Numbers are up in a variety of categories. Circulation — the number of items checked out at the library — topped 1.3 million, which was an 11 percent increase. Attendance at library programs topped 40,000 and was up 12 percent.

The number of meetings held at the library grew by 6 percent to 535. The less encouraging number, Flanders said, is that the library turned away 191 additional meetings due to lack of space.

But there is one declining number that also is driving the library debate. Flanders said the city’s funding for the library hasn’t kept up with the city’s population growth. As a result, Lawrence’s per capita funding for libraries now ranks seventh out of the 10 largest cities in the state, according to the most recent report from the Kansas State Data Center (which is based on 2008 numbers).

Lawrence spent $34.14 per person on library funding, which put the city ahead of only Garden City and Wichita. Lawrence was well behind top-spender Topeka, which spent $88.43 per person. Every city, though, was well behind Topeka. Excluding Topeka, Lawrence was about $3 below the average or about $6 below the median. The current proposal would add about $1.7 million to the library’s annual budget, or about $18 per person, based on Lawrence’s most recent population estimates.

To Flanders, in a community where education is its largest industry, Lawrence’s current low ranking doesn’t speak well.

“I feel like it is kind of a sad commentary,” Flanders said.

The concerns

Some Lawrence residents, though, believe we’re in sad economic times.

Thus far, no formal group has emerged to oppose the library bond issue. But Jim Mullins, a field director for the government-watchdog group Americans for Prosperity, said his organization is actively considering mounting an opposition campaign.

“If we take a position on it, it would be to turn it down,” Mullins said. “We don’t think now is the time to raise taxes.”

Mullins said the timing is terrible for a Lawrence tax increase. If approved, it would mark the third straight year that Lawrence residents have seen a local tax increase. In 2009, a 0.55 percent sales tax increase — approved by voters — took effect. In November of this year — about the time voters go to the polls — property tax bills will include a 2.9-mill increase for Douglas County government and a 2-mill increase for Lawrence public schools. If the 2-mill increase for the library is approved, it would show up on property tax bills in November 2011.

Mullins said the tax increases run counter to the new trend of the private sector spending less and saving more.

“Saving is what government should be doing at every level,” Mullins said. “We’re trying to hold things close to our belt, and you guys are not. That’s the message we should be sending to government.”

But Cromwell said the library has taken steps to make the proposal financially responsible. When the library last considered a new project in 2006, it recommended a $30 million project. Cromwell said both the costs and the size have shrunk out of concern for the economy.

Cromwell also said he believes city government is in a good financial position to take on the project. Unlike other governments, the city hasn’t significantly increased its mill levy since 2003, has reduced the number of city employees, and has not dipped into its reserve funds to balance budgets.

The library project, coupled with the already approved sales tax to bolster city streets and infrastructure, will put Lawrence in a good position to attract new residents and businesses once the economy improves.

“It is time to take the lead,” Cromwell said. “The city has to be built for the future. This is the time to do it. When this recession is over, we’re going to be sitting here ready to showcase our community as one that is prosperous.”

Comments

Dan Simons 3 years, 6 months ago

First, let me acknowledge that I am part owner of the Riverfront mall property, adjacent property and an officer with the World Company. Regardless of any personal benefit, I believe there are alternatives to the $18 million library expansion plan that is being presented for a public vote. I believe the following scenario deserves consideration. These numbers were sent on June 18th to library board members and city commission members. I never heard one word back. $1.7 million: Buy Abe and Jakes. 20,000 square feet, large public entertaining, reading, meeting, and coffee shop space on the river, on city land. $4.5 million: Buy the west half of the Riverfront Plaza. Three levels, 70,000 square feet, 230 cat-5 Ethernet wired computer stations, 500 parking stalls, all on city land. $5 million: Renovate the 40,000 square feet on floors one and two at $125/square foot. For $11 million, Lawrence could have a beautiful 90,000-square-foot library, on the river, with a 500-stall existing parking structure, all on city-owned land and enhancing the city’s relationship to the river. And the community library still would be downtown. All work could be done with no interruption to current library operations. The city then could sell the existing library space to help finance the project. Who knows? Possibly a downtown grocery might materialize. I’ve been told an excuse for not considering this is that the Plaza is not class A property. Why would the city government need class A property in these times? I’ve heard some people don’t think the facility can structurally support the weight of stacks of books. This is untrue; we have provided engineering studies that show it can. This space also offers the possibility for future expansion. For about $7 million (at $200 a square foot), a 35,000-square-foot glassed indoor space could be created on the Plaza roof overlooking the river. This idea and other alternatives deserve to be publicly discussed.

Dan Simons

0

none2 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't know why anybody bothers to comment on this topic. Lawrence is known for passing anything that costs money. Thus it will pass for sure.

0

thinkerfromtopeka 3 years, 6 months ago

As a Librarian from Topeka, I know how popular our Library is to Topekans, and those from Lawrence. Yes, we have over 100 computers, and many are used for games, but there are many more researching and applying for jobs, improving their resumes, or keeping in touch with friends and family. We had to put a 2 hour limit on them, because of their popularity. I strongly encourage you to vote yes for your Library.

0

not_holroyd 3 years, 6 months ago

Wilbur: yada yada yada yada yada.

Where did that best buddy Hedley_Lamarr go? In the mirror?

Perhaps the same place that Corncobb and HawkperchedbytheRiverfront went???

It is time to raise the costs for LJW Obits one more time. At least for Neighborhood Association Officers. They are sucking up money from KU students 24/7 pretty much from what I can tell.

0

not_holroyd 3 years, 6 months ago

oneeye_Wilbur:

yada yada yada.....two bond issues....yada yada yada...high school should have been here rather than there..... yada yada yada.....we give away public parking.... yada yada yada.... the City, County, School board are all stupid and crooks and have no leadership....yada yada yada...my leadership of the Oread landlord association is the bees knees....yada yada yada...

0

oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 6 months ago

Vote YES for the library. It's a good thing to raise taxes. It's a good thing for employers looking to come to Lawrence and NOT. It's a good way for the city, county, and school district employees to come back for raises when their taxes go up.Sadly, their employers do not pay taxes.

Farmville someone suggested? The Journal World would not dare interview those using the computers to see what they are doing. Dolph is not about to make the bond issue an issue for the Journal World except to support it.

Parking facility to give away free spaces. The City of Lawrence has an antiquated parking system and will continue to do so, parking is free , parking is a dime, parking is a nickel, parking is sometimes until six, parking is free on sundays but none of the meters clearly give the hours.

If a city cannot run a parking system, they surely cannot maintain a new library re do. The existing buildling is proof of that.

Vote YES and saddle everyone 45 years and younger with the debt. 20 years is a long time and on top of that the Journal World only talks about how much it is for a house, a $200,000 house or whatever but doesn't give any examples of that same property increasing in valuation over the next 20 years and how the library mill levy is applied to the increase of valuation.

Lawrence is not smart financially!

0

David Roberts 3 years, 6 months ago

I support a free and well-stocked public library that affords all citizens of Lawrence access to the resources that will allow them to pursue a self-directed course of education in the great ideas of humanity.

Unless I am mistaken, this proposal seems to center around a parking facility, more meeting rooms, a new facade, and a great expansion of computers.

I like the idea of providing public meeting space at existing retail locations that are currently vacant. Reference materials could be moved to such a location as well, which would create more space in the central library if needed.

What are the computers in the public library used for? I'm all for providing free public access for things like writing resumes, but not for playing Farmville. Perhaps those in the know could give some insight into how the computers are currently being used.

0

oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 6 months ago

Let the bond issue pass. I will vote YES just to create more debt for the city. That way, those who think wilbur really owns rentals gives wilbur an excuse tor raise rent to pay the property taxes. "not_holroyd" sure doesn't know who owns what.

62,000 votes all cut of the same ilk. Over educated university types and financially illiterate. The same ones that voted in school bond issues that now are whining the boundaries are to be changed. Get ready for the next bond election.

Who cares what the person "not_holroyd" thinks wilbur is. Really now. sounds like "not_holroyd" is a bit insane. Let's hope "not_holroyd" is not one of the soon to be unemployed when unemployment reaches over 11%. It's coming.

Maybe hedley lamarr and "not_holroyd" are one in the same, talking to each other. you take your meds yet for the day "not_holroyd".

Vote YES and help drive the city into more debt. It's a good thing.

After looking at the bond market today, these cities, and Lawrence included might have a bit of a hard sell come sooner than later.

0

HedleyLamarrr 3 years, 6 months ago

LJW, I hope the next part of your expose on the library will explore the possible alternatives to the $18 million paint and carpets plan. None of the supporters seem to have any answers. In fact, it's looking like the alternative has never even been seriously considered, which is a sad statement on the competence level of those involved.

0

CHKNLTL 3 years, 6 months ago

VOTE NO!!!
Look at how well the city spent the tax increase dollars for the empTy bus! I read last week that half the fleet is down and they have cut a bunch of routes and changed pick-up times to where fewer passengers use it.... How many mills are already taxed on property in this town anyway? I'm sure it's listed on people's property tax assessments, but not owning property, I don't have one of those evil pages.

0

HedleyLamarrr 3 years, 6 months ago

I'd like to point out the obvious to anyone that might be undecided on this issue. Not one of the library $18 million paint and carpet supporters has explained why less expensive satellite libraries can't do just as good, if not better, at serving the needs of the Lawrence community. The best way to support the library is to spend money wisely. So don't feel like you are failing to support the library by voting 'no' on the issue. You are actually doing the library a huge favor by forcing the consideration of alternative plans that should have received more consideration from the beginning. There are a lot of reasons that satellite locations are superior. You place the resources closer to the users, you can tailor each locations offerings to the needs of the immediate neighborhoods, you can more easily expand or contract space as needed, it will cost considerably less. Now consider the advantages to the $18 million plan. They are?????? Notice that the supporters can;t tell you what is superior. Don't be duped into thinking that spending a lot of money means that you are going to receive superior results. Sometimes spending more is counterproductive and the results you receive are inferior. This is one of the instances. Demand some answers from these people. Don't just trust them to do what's best in the interest of you or Lawrence. Look at the flippant attitude of not_holroyd. Is that the kind of person you want to trust with your tax dollars?

0

not_holroyd 3 years, 6 months ago

Alas Hedley.

We knew you too well.

0

d_prowess 3 years, 6 months ago

Despite my feelings on this project, and those of the majority of commenter, I completely believe this project will get about 70% of the vote. People here just have a hard time saying no to projects that sound good and don't care enough to be critical of them. And I do support some type of updating/expansion/satellite improvement of our library. I just feel this project is too large and expensive to reflect the actual critical needs the library probably has given the information they have provided through stories in the LJW.

0

pea 3 years, 6 months ago

d_prowess: According to the Library's website, non-profits can meet for free, businesses must pay. I would like to know how many of the 191 turned away would have paid. I can only guess that is was not a great number since we are not told explicitly how much revenue was lost due to overcrowding. Too bad no one at the LJW asked more questions like this.

Self aggrandizing? Agree. False dichotomy? Agree.

It's just a darn shame about that impending Library implosion that can only be averted with $18M in debt!

0

HedleyLamarrr 3 years, 6 months ago

So holyrod, let me ask you a question. Since you think you have your finger on the pulse of the Lawrence voter, maybe you can explain something to me. Why is an $18 million improvement to the old library a superior plan to one that will cost a tenth as much, yet accomplish the exact same goals of an increase in meeting space, computers etc. This latter plan has the added benefit of putting facilities closer to users, thus reducing the need to burn precious fossil fuel. The one goal this does not accomplish, of course, is to impress on neighboring towns just how neat that Lawrence is to be able to afford an $18 million monument to government waste. Satellite libraries won't cause envy in city leaders from Topeka, Manhattan, Salina, KCK.

What advantage does your $18 million dollar plan have that makes it that superior to the far cheaper and affordable alternative?

Please share your brilliant insights with me.

0

not_holroyd 3 years, 6 months ago

Hedley, you too are an idiot. Meet Wilbur. Maybe between the two of you, you might be able to get 1% if you ran for office.

Are you another Oread slumlord?

0

breeze 3 years, 6 months ago

Vote against the library referendum if you want Lawrence to continue to lag behind other cities in Kansas and the US. Who needs books? Who needs free computer access? Who needs children's materials? The people of Lawrence clearly do but there are so many constipated grumblers commenting here that an outsider would not know that.

0

d_prowess 3 years, 6 months ago

The article says that the Library turned away 191 meetings last year. Can anyone explain who those meetings were for? And do they charge anything for their meeting space? My guess would be no, but depending on who is using the space, it might not be crazy to start.

0

pearlearrings 3 years, 6 months ago

As a state employee who has not seen a raise in salary in two years but all other expenses continue to increase, I am voting no to a library renovation. I am also speaking to everyone that I know urging them to vote no also. Since our lovely city leaders feel justified in turning away businesses who would contribute to our tax base, I feel compelled to turn down every request that they put before the voters. I also just received my health insurance plan for 2011. My premium increased 8 percent and all of my co-pays and deductibles have increased. This is just one example of the erosion of my salary.

0

HedleyLamarrr 3 years, 6 months ago

maybe this is the reason these boondoggles pass in this town. Those for the tax increases get out and campaign actively for their side, while those opposed just post anonymous comments on the LJW website. The T, the "special" tax for "roads", "save our schools" and now the library. The worse the economy gets, the more this city wants to raise your taxes.

0

HedleyLamarrr 3 years, 6 months ago

Where can I get a Vote NO to the library sign?

0

oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 6 months ago

Vote YES and prove that educated folks believe in financing carpet and paint for 20 years and also the architects fees.

I am going to a local bank now to borrow $5 for a Big Mac. I bet the local banks support the library bond issue so they aren't too smart either and won't mind loaning wilbur $5.00 for five years.

The financial institutions have duped the public in Lawrence for a long time and another $18 million in the bond market might well end up like Culture Farm investments.

0

BigPrune 3 years, 6 months ago

They better get this passed on this election cycle, before Kobach gets elected. I predict 70% pass this turd, just like the M-T bus. Then it will be unquestionable. This is Lawrence KS after all, the only liberal bastion in Kansas. This explains why we never spend our money wisely.

Now off to Topeka, I feel a magnet tugging on me from their "destination" library, or is that coming from Columbia, MO? I didn't realize those towns had libraries. I wonder if either would let me check out a book, since I don't live in either town?

0

oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 6 months ago

Last time wilbur checked the date-cam, "not_holroyd" was on the site. You should see what taking too much Valium does to one. Watch out Eudora you are getting the sewage from Lawrence and thanks to "not_holroyd' you may not be with it either. Always remember, back in 1936 a woman had 1/2 a brain and was told she would live for 5 years. Only four more to go for "not_holroyd".

hey, heard Corn Cob is coming back to comment on the Library, now that Chickens are allowed in town.

0

GUMnNUTS 3 years, 6 months ago

Pay for education now or jail later.

0

fancy80 3 years, 6 months ago

If the number one improvement issue that most people expressed to Aron Cromwell was the library, then Aron Cromwell must have knocked on a lot of Fritzell's doors. They stand to make the most money here. The plan, at least at one point was for the Fritzell's to do the building and lease it back to the city. I don't think we (the public) are being told the whole story, or all of the details. I'm not anti-library. I read every day. Simply put, I do not think this is the best time (given the economy), nor do I think this is the best plan. I would consider voting yes for SOME improvements at a later date.

0

not_holroyd 3 years, 6 months ago

Sure glad that ole Oneeye is here to give us the over/under.

After first telling us the library issue will pass, he pours his usual negativity on to the subject. Have him stuff yet another body into those houses that the city doesn't check up on, and use the extra rent to support the library.

Besides, he really doesn't need a library. He has a computer at home. I fear his date-cam bill exceeds his taxes.

0

oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 6 months ago

Just for a good night brain test, a student loan according to recent figures at 4% ( I picked that amount because the library bonds might be sold for that amount) the loan of $10,000 for 10 years would total $12, 150.

So you genius folks who drink beer at Free State and buy your soles from Birkenstock can do the math on $18, MILLION.

We sure will never , ever get the straight skinny of financing from the Journal World. After all, just look at the photo in the paper. Why didn't the Journal World show the other patrons inside . It's for the kids, you know.

The next bond issue is just around the corner of 6th and McDoanald Drive. :)

0

oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 6 months ago

This library vote is a teaser for the next School Board bond election. :)

0

TinkyWinky 3 years, 6 months ago

The potholes are a good place to spend money. Build the road right the first time instead of taking shortcuts in the construction.

Big money wasters in Lawrence: The T Library Trails Wetlands

Build the south side bypass and stop wasting time and energy on trails. We can't afford trails, we can't afford the T and we don't need a new library. Use the old outlet mall in north lawrence if you need a building right now.

0

oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 6 months ago

On a realistic approach to financing the expansion, the details should all be brought forward by the Journal World. I hate to use the term "transparency" because all that renders is adhesive tape and that has what has been used for years for the building as the past library board and the director and the behind the scenes "wanna be importants" have done nothing but put some tape here and there on the building knowing full well that the building is going to be trashed and another scheme brought forward.

So with that in mind, since the Journal World will NEVER delve into the real finances of the project, I would vote yes just to cause a reason for the taxes to go up and the 48 year old and younger entitlement generation can pay the bill. Also vote yes as a way to discourage more employers from locating in Lawrence and another reason to vote yes is to drive away retail which pays more in property taxes than any homeowner in Lawrence ever will in a year.

If you are in doubt how much the expansion will really cost, go to a bank and ask them to loan you $30 for a gallon of paint and you want the loan for 20 years. When you have that figure, double it as Lawrence Library will buy the paint at $60 a gallon.

$20 a gallon isn't good enough for the Library.

0

LadyJ 3 years, 6 months ago

Speaking of potholes that "should" have been fixed, 19th street between Barker and Haskell was really, really bad last winter. I figured that street would be fixed this summer, but guess what? Watch the cars driving down that street, many heading east drive with one wheel in the bike lane to avoid the bumpy ride. Of course that means potholes will form in the bike lane and a bicyclist will be killed again, and then guess what. Yup, lawsuit against the city.

0

kugrad 3 years, 6 months ago

Here are my concerns and the reasons I plan to vote no on this proposal. 1) Public input was primarily gathered at the library itself, which predisposes the input toward the positive end of the spectrum to some degree

2) There was a LOT of input against the proposal and/or against certain aspects of the proposal. It was completely ignored. There were NO CHANGES TO THE PROPOSAL after public input.

3) The lack of changes following input from the public shows that the Library staff behind the proposal had no sincere interest in feedback from the public, but just gathered it so they could say they did. Otherwise, their plans would have some significant tweaks.

4) I do not think the community of Lawrence should add 100 more computers simply because some non-local library group of professional librarians has established this as an arbitrary standard. Shouldn't a community have the right to decide if it wants to provide that much free internet access? One of the points that many community members did not agree with was the increase in computers. With all the free wi-fi and the low cost of laptops, this "standard" which the proposal cites, is out of date.

5) I find those who, like Mr. Cromwell, frame this issue as a choice between expansion and cuts to services to be practicing politics by threat. The library can continue to do what it does without expansion.

6.) The library does a fine job and meets the needs of my family as is. This is a poor choice of times to put this to a vote. To argue that it is never a good time is to ignore that we are coming out of the worst recession since WWII.

7.) Property taxes is not a fair funding vehicle. Property owners have had to handle many increases in the last decade. They are all small, they all add up to a huge percentage increase. Public input suggested looking at other funding options, but they just stuck with taxes. Be more creative in looking for funding options. Charge for internet access - everyone else pays.

0

toe 3 years, 6 months ago

This will easily pass. Lawrence has never seen a tax it did not like.

0

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 6 months ago

Our country is considering to legalize marijuana because we need the revenue stream that can come from taxing it as a legal drug.

Think about it.

Our government has reached the point where we have to sell dope to stay in business.

They will never stop trying to get a larger and larger portion of our income each month. It will never stop until we have the guts to tell them NO.

0

CorkyHundley 3 years, 6 months ago

This is what people call progressive? Will the progressive library carry 8 track tape players for listening to the hits of the 70's? This old fashioned method of driving to a place to borrow books is nostalgic but not very green spirited for a hamlet claiming to be progressive.

0

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 6 months ago

Stop spending our money.

Figure out how to live within your means like everybody else.

Only raise taxes in times of emergency.

We have the Republican legislature pulling back from funding education. Guess who is going to be asked to pay more in local education taxes?

Government cannot manage money, they can only spend it and they don't spend it wisely. They NEVER make any money without raising taxes.

We need to promote philanthropy in the private sector to fund projects like libraries and sports complexes. We need to stop saddling citizens with enormous living expenses they can no longer afford.

We need our citizens to save for retirement and for emergencies because social security is going broke. The lock box got picked by politicians.

0

onceagain 3 years, 6 months ago

So, you are saying every pothole in town should be instantly fixed? How are you going to pay for that?

0

lawrencenerd 3 years, 6 months ago

Maybe if everybody who has had property damage or injury due to all the huge potholes around town would sue the city for damages they'd pay more attention to keeping infrastructure intact instead of this stuff.

The library is fine, and I have not seen any evidence that it isn't meeting the needs of the people that use it. You know what they say, don't fix it if it isn't broken. I bet that 18 million would barely cover the damage on peoples vehicles and injuries from getting a bike tire caught in a pothole and getting thrown, etc... Only in Lawrence can mechanics offer a spring pothole tune up special, because other cities actually make an effort to maintain their roadways.

Having people actually fixing infrastructure would actually create more jobs too! Imagine that, using money sensibly instead of what amounts to a vanity project for the city.

0

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 6 months ago

Since you brought it up.

CORRUPTION

(n.) The act of corrupting or of impairing integrity, virtue, or moral principle; the state of being corrupted or debased; loss of purity or integrity; depravity; wickedness; impurity; bribery.

IRRESPONSIBLE (adj)

Showing lack of care for consequences

This city commission, by allowing this to be put on the ballot at a time when unemployment in this country is at or above 10% and when the foreclosure rate on homes is as high as it has ever been since the Great Depression and at a time when we have a multitude of problems taking proper care of our citizens and providing basic services, has proven that they have no qualifications to manage the budget of the city of Lawrence.

I do not know if this city commission is corrupt, but I know that the political environment that we are currently viewing is corrupt. All we hear are lies in the media all day long. We have entered a period when you are probably guilty until proven innocent if you are involved in politics.

0

Centerville 3 years, 6 months ago

Good grief, pea! Nothing is going to implode. If we don't raise taxes for this, the library will continue as usual. The only difference will be that even more space will be taken up with propaganda whining for more money.

0

pea 3 years, 6 months ago

It's a shame that if we don't take out this enormous loan the library as it stands will implode and then no one will have access to books, movies or internet. I don't like it anymore than you but it seems our only choice is to vote yes.

0

oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 6 months ago

Why isn't the JOurnal World revealing the true costs for the 18 million?

  1. What is the cost for the architect and project manager? Then what do those fees translate to paying them off over 20 years?

  2. Cost of paint, furniture, lightbulbs, book shelving, carpet for just a few upfront costs? How much then when that total amount is paid off over 20 years?

  3. The actual building itself i. e. construction is how much? How much figuring to pay those costs out over 20 years?

  4. The actual cost of the parking structure? How much paid off over 20 years?

  5. The actual revenue anticipated monthly , semi annually and yearly for the parking structure. How do those numbers corretate to the costs for the structure to be paid off over 20 years. Figure the revenue based on current Lawrence KS parking fees of NICKEL, DIME , AND A QUARTER.

No doubt the vote will pass because the community is not financially literate nor are the commissioners to allow this to go forward with no real as they call it "transparency" of costs.

0

TinkyWinky 3 years, 6 months ago

Eh oh Tax dollar wasters,

New library? NO way. "no, no and no!!" This is a bad idea at a bad time.

Another sucking tax wound is the Kansas Railway trails. A group of self serving goobers is wasting money on converting old rail lines into trails that only a handful of people will ever use. Give the old railways back to the landowners for grazing cattle. Why should I subsidize the interests of about Ten people.

0

mr_right_wing 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm going to repeat this...

Bring this issue back up in 2 years, if things have significantly turned around economically and more folks have jobs; I'll be happy to put a check mark by "yes"! (Is the building litterally going to crumble in two years? Will people stop going to the library because there is not expansion in the next two years?)

Until then, no, no and no!!

0

starburst 3 years, 6 months ago

I rarely visit the library. The location is not convenient, and I usually prefer to purchase my books and music (new or used) rather than check them out. I do use the KU library system for academic materials. Still, with that said, I plan to vote YES for the library addition. I am proud to live in Lawrence because we are an educated and progressive community. Literacy and arts education are a central component of this. I am willing to pay an extra $40 to $50 a year in taxes ($3-$4 a month? the price of an ice cream cone or latte?) in order to improve the opportunities for all members of my community. Many residents cannot afford to purchase books, music, and movies, but deserve equal access. I understand that this is a difficult time to raise taxes. My husband and I have not received a raise in nearly four years, yet our health insurance, food costs, and everything else have continued to climb. Money is always a concern, and I'm careful about my purchases. However, I believe in a literate society. I want all people to have access. People use our library for many reasons from self improvement to entertainment. For some, this is the only access they have to the Internet. Many jobs, including ALL of those at KU, require online application. Without free access at the library, many of our residents would not even be able to apply for jobs in their own community. I don't want higher taxes, but I do believe in supporting literacy and providing equal access. Don't let this become, even more than it already is, a community of haves and have nots. We need to find a middle ground for everyone.

0

Centerville 3 years, 6 months ago

There are two librarians at every desk in Topeka for protection. Especially during those "in-service' days that schools are closed. Taxpayers shouldn't be stuck with someone else's babysitting bills.

0

irvan moore 3 years, 6 months ago

i love the library, i hate the plan. it's NOT a library parking lot, it's a city parking lot. the commissioners know they can't get voters to approve more downtown parking for business and are tying the parking lot to the library plan to fund future development downtown. the voters are being deceived, shame on Flanders and the commissioners.

0

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

In my front yard is a pro-library sign. Libraries are important and we need to support them. However, once again I am being faced with a false dilemma. Ask yourself a couple of questions.

Given the close to 30% city tax increase in the last decade (despite Mr. Cromwell’s comment) why do we need to increase our taxes more to do this. Libraries should be a high priority and be funded ahead of some of the other stuff upon which we waste tax money

Why is the library carrying the water for a big garage (25% of the bill)? It would seem to me that many merchants will benefit from increased parking on that side of town (matching parking edifices). A more equitable approach would be to create a special tax district to pay for the garage.

Here is another example of government messing with us. A worthwhile project is fattened up with unrelated lard to support the business community. It is kind of like the “T”. We voted to provide another revenue stream and the city just absorbed the previous funding stream for other wants (like corporate welfare in West Lawrence).

In my day in the government, we called these “gold watches”. You lead with the most attractive project to protect marginal projects from public scrutiny. Government gets more power and resources and the taxpayers feel they “did good”. See my blog at: http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/loyal-opposition/2010/sep/5/what-is-the-role-of-an-el/

0

volunteer 3 years, 6 months ago

Topeka's library is too big and grandiose. Instad of one, there are two librarians sitting at every "help" kiosk chatting with one another. (But try to get them to get out of their chairs and help you find something...)

And recently the head honchos cut in half the amount they were spending on new acquisitions ...in order to make budget room to bring staff wages to the national average. Can't have such a fine facility and employees not earning the national average for librarians.(55 grand plus benefits, I believe; are our teachers at national average? Our plumbers or carpenters?)

So build it and the wages of those working there will rise more than the availability of books and rooms, I betcha.

0

cowboy 3 years, 6 months ago

The library is in a place in time where it should sustain itself or become a relic. with the advent of technology, it has become an aged dinosaur. Let's be honest.

Charge a user fee equivalent to the property tax annually and see what happens to the user visit numbers. 39 bucks per household per year. Let the reserve pile up then you can spend it.

If in fact the library has morphed into an entertainment distributor for the cheap or poor then it is not serving it's original purpose. If it has become the community computer terminal , then state it as such and move forward with a completely different approach.

0

Keith 3 years, 6 months ago

"• A three-level parking garage would be built on a portion of the current parking lot. The garage would have 250 spaces, up from 125 today. Parking would account for about $4.3 million of the project’s costs. "

Time to sell the naming rights. How much to name the new parking garage, The Eldridge Parking Garage?

0

Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

"So what next? A sports and recreation complex?" Yes that is the Chamber of Commerce plan for your tax dollars. Out on taxpayer owned land aka UDS 497 and park property in southeast Lawrence.

This library has been neglected for too many years. Time to give it serious maintenance and make it better.

0

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 6 months ago

The habit that government has in spending what they don't have is worse than heroin.

If it is such a wonderful idea, there are probably seriously wealthy people somewhere interested in providing money for the project.

Remember Andrew Carnegie? His name is on a lot of buildings.

Americans are sick of government irresponsibility and corruption. Seriously sick of it.

0

Centerville 3 years, 6 months ago

I haven't seen the line item projected costs, but Topeka has had to hire full time security. The biggest quality problem at the Lawrence library is parents screaming at children or letting their children scream at them. Until our librarians get tougher, we're just begging for wretchedness if we turn our library into a community rec center.

0

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 6 months ago

So what next? A sports and recreation complex?

What is the next cannot live without it boondoggle idea?

Right in front of our eyes we see the curious habit of short term in office government officials raising our cost of living beyond our means. Isn't that the problem with government?

We didn't elect you so you could make our lives harder. We elected you to manage the city not spend it into a deeper hole.

My prediction on this exactly. People that don't have to pay property taxes are going to push us into paying more property tax for another idiot's ego to get stroked.

0

Jimo 3 years, 6 months ago

Move the "strong central location" elsewhere in Lawrence. The present site - the most expensive land per square inch in Lawrence - could fund purchase of a different site on cheaper land AND make significant contribution to funding the various upgrades instead of additional taxes.

I will not agree to any library project at its current site. It was bad enough that officials insisted on placing the swimming pool in such a poorly chosen location. Let's not double-down on our poor site-location judgment. What's next: a proposal to locate a Lowe's in Riverside Park?

0

onceinawhile 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm conflicted. I love libraries, but this is so much money and I agree with others that some of the details of the expansion don't seem very convincing.

Libraries in other nearby towns -- Manhattan, Topeka, KC -- are so much bigger and nicer than Lawrence's. How are they making it work? I have never heard of them raising taxes to support their growth. Shouldn't the library be able to expand from the money they make on patrons?

0

Lori Nation 3 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

parrotuya 3 years, 6 months ago

If AFP hates it then it must be good! Vote YES! If you don't like it, move out of town.

DOWn, baby, DOWn!

0

justsaying 3 years, 6 months ago

I will be voting yes. We use the library for books, movies etc. If I use a service or have an expectation of receiving a service OR I believe generally that people should have access to the service, then I feel I should pay my part. Buying books isn't realistic for many and would mean our family would read less. You don't know if a book is good until you read it. If a library has the book, then multiple people read the same copy; which is practical in its "recycling" nature. As for electronic books, the library could still make those available for checkout instead of buying the download on-line. There is a family joy in going to the library.... you don't get that on-line. I also believe that businesses that consider Lawrence consider our services as well as streets, sidewalks, schools and crime levels.

0

sunny 3 years, 6 months ago

Vote NO! It would be cheaper to buy each and every person who uses the library a computer!

0

Zachary Stoltenberg 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm all for supporting our library system, however the proposed changes and the price tag are absolutely ridiculous. Lawrence should build a new, smaller, branch library on the west side of town. We don't need to build a parking garage for the Eldridge and the swimming pool. And the 18 million dollar price tag could almost build an entirely new building. Renovation is always more expensive. Building a small branch library, with a community room, children's library, and reference section could be done for much, much less than 18 million and would better serve the ENTIRE community rather than the concentrated homeless population. It would look great next to the proposed community theater and Lowes out in Bauer Farms. ;)

0

Centerville 3 years, 6 months ago

Take a trip to the Topeka library and see what 100 more public access computers will add to the quality of our library. Just don't break the speed limit on your trip back to advance vote "No".

0

nobody1793 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm curious what could be done with $9M as opposed to $18M--A 20-year payback seems like an awfully long time. Does the $18M budget include the inevitable upgrades/maintenance that will occur during this time or is this entirely up-front cost?

Simply saying that you proposed $30M a few years ago doesn't mean that the $18M is fiscally responsible. $4.3 Million to increase parking by 125 spaces = $34,000 per parking spot?! What other options were considered?

I want to support the library, but I'm struggling.

0

kansasredlegs 3 years, 6 months ago

I vote and I vote NO.

So, Topeka outspends Lawrence by more than twice the amount. Funny, I don't hear everyone running to Topeka because of its better educational opportunities, its library, etc.

Send a message to our Commissioners, who were gutless on this issue, that no more taxes unti we have a better economy. In almost every yard in which I see a "Vote Yes" sign, I see a "Holland" sign and what strikes me as funny is that Holland is proposing school financing reform & increased spending after the economy improves. Seems the "Vote Yes" crowd cannot understand that.

0

Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

"I will vote against any spending measure in this town until our streets are fixed."

There was a one half cent sales tax voted in to do streets,hike and bike paths and hopefully sidewalks.

If the city would stop expanding water and sewer lines and stop approving new neighborhoods we don't need and cannot afford there just might be money for the necessities.

0

KarenJo 3 years, 6 months ago

For those who are saying that now is not the right time for this project, I would suggest you read this week's Newsweek's column, "If You Build It...Now's the time to invest in infrastructure." http://www.newsweek.com/2010/10/02/klein-the-case-for-investing-in-infrastructure.html In it, columnist Ezra Klein writes that smart governments are acting now to improve their public buildings and infrastructure. Construction materials and borrowing costs have never been lower. "That means a dollar of investment today will go much further than it would have five years ago -- or than it's likely to go five years from now."

So let's seize this opportunity and improve our library. It not only is needed, but it also is a wise investment.

0

chicago95 3 years, 6 months ago

I have been a user and supporter of libraries all my life, but the justifications offered so far for expanding the downtown library seem superficial and uncompelling. - What are the arguments for expanding the central library rather than building branches? - Who exactly uses the library? By age? By neighborhood? From library card data, we ought to be able to see a detailed map. Compare library users to general population densities. - Which library services and programs are used or attended? We are entitled to much more specific quantitative information. - Demonstrate that the recent increase in demand is part of a longer-term trend rather than a response to the economic recession. - What other downtown locations do library patrons visit on the same trip? (This influences parking facility planning.) - Aside from just adding more desktop computers -- not exactly ground-breaking in itself -- what evidence is there that our library is anticipating changes in the technology and culture of information creation and retreival? What can we learn from the experience of hard-copy book sellers, newspapers and periodicals?

I am desperately seeking a reason to vote "Yes."

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

“If we take a position on it, it would be to turn it down,” Mullins said. “We don’t think now is the time to raise taxes.”

When does Mullins think would be a good time to raise taxes, given that the only discernible goal of AFP is to eliminate taxes and government if it doesn't support the interests (and profits) of the Koch brothers.

0

sundowner 3 years, 6 months ago

My knuckes hurt. I'm almost 100% sure I won't get a raise this year!

0

Eybea Opiner 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm in the library nearly every week, sometimes more often. I do not see evidence of over-crowding, nor do I see the meeting room just inside to door being used that often.

I will vote against any spending measure in this town until our streets are fixed.

0

FreshAirFanatic 3 years, 6 months ago

I'd like to see a breakdown of what's checked out. DVDs/CDs vs Books. I can't count the number of times I've seen someone bring in a stack of movies/music and leave with another.

Why are we funding someone's entertainment?

0

mr_right_wing 3 years, 6 months ago

Under the current economic conditions NO!

When things eventually turn around and people are working again; by all means!

This is a 'luxury' we cannot afford right now.

Turnips.

0

Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

"When this recession is over, we’re going to be sitting here ready to showcase our community as one that is prosperous.” This is not as important as simply doing what the city should have been doing all along. That is maintaining a valuable existing resource instead of ignoring this valuable resource.

Commissioner Cromwell,

I believe you and the other city commissioners should provide an option B plan for the financing.

That would be allowing a portion of the 1995 1 cent sales tax money to be used to finance this expansion that is absolutely necessary.

Let's introduce a fiscally responsible taxpayer friendly proposal. Options the city can live with that include no increase in taxes. Hats off to this concept.

The one cent sales tax that was approved in 1995 can generate up to $14,036,301 as of 2009. Obviously more in better years

The city portion of the county 1% sales tax can generate up $8,609,331 as of 2009 obviously more in better years.

The two together = $22,645,672 again obviously more in better years. So I say let’s use a portion of this to finance our library reconstruction. Let’s use 10% of this tax dollar revenue annually.

Choice: A. City/County tax revenue combined using 10% annually = 2,264,567. 20 for 10 years = project paid off with existing sales tax revenue

B.City sales tax only using 10% annually of city tax revenue only = $1,403,630.10 for 15 years with existing sales tax revenue

C. personal property tax increase ….. my last but least desirable choice.

Let the voters decide. The tax dollars after all belong to we the tax paying citizen. City Hall would need to adjust it's spending accordingly with regard to future park and rec projects. I think taxpayers could live with that.

Either choice provides financing for the expansion. A win win solution.

0

skinny 3 years, 6 months ago

Vote NO!! Everything is going digital anyway. Read it online!

Repair the Library, there is nothing wrong with the building or location we have now.

0

Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Americans for Prosperity oppose all tax dollar use except those going to corporate welfare.

Free Lunch, Corp Welfare, Bill Moyers and David Cay Johnston http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUNHwZ...

0

macon47 3 years, 6 months ago

the same folks that voted for the MT bus tax will pass this library expansion the same folks that voted for obama will pass this library expansioin the expansion will pass why? because the folks that are not in favor ot the library expansion are too lazy to vote, only whine after the fact

0

WHY 3 years, 6 months ago

Vote no. Save your money and buy the books you want yourself. If the library needs some repairs fine, but increasing parking for the pool and making more room for the homeless to hang out is not a good use of limited resources. Some developer is going to make a fortune off this plan. One reason we spend less on our library is that they are not counting all of the libraries we have on KU campus which are open to the public. Anyone can get a card and use the campus libraries. We probably have more books per person in this town already.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.