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 Whitman County Library

Board of Trustees Meeting

Colfax Branch

June 16, 2009
 4:00 p.m.


Present: Rebecca Dickerson, Leslee Miller, John Aune, Teresa Myott, Kristie Kirkpatrick, Peggy Bryan and Joe Reynolds

Teresa Myott, board chair, called the meeting to order at 4:03.

Teresa asked for additions or modifications to the agenda.

Whitman Country Assessor Joe Reynolds reported library tax revenues should remain flat for the foreseeable future. He said Garfield will begin paying taxes directly into the district on Jan. 1, 2010 following the successful annexation election November 2008. Reynolds said the maximum WCL can collect is 44.7 cents per $1000 of assessed value for 2010 with a levy lid lift WCL could collect 50 cents per $1000. He said county farm ground received an annual review that would account for a .75 increase per acre in valuation. Reynolds said the Open Space Program applies only farm ground. When a farmer enters an open space contract he promises to farm, Open Space does take into account the Crop Reserve Program. If the farm is taken out of farming the land can be taxed with a penalty and interest to accommodate the broken contract. Reynolds said the Department of Natural Resources pays in lieu of taxes at 12%, which is close to what is paid out in property taxes. Reynolds explained the benefit to towns to annex into the library district is that it gives them more room to collect taxes at the same amount but they are not paying for library services. Reynolds said a lid lift is available to WCL. Director Kristie Kirkpatrick said the levy lid lift would require 50% voter approval plus one vote for approval. Director John Aune asked Reynolds why did the voter passage of Initiative 747 result in the drop of the amount of money WCL collected to operate the district.

Reynolds said if voters approve a lid lift WCL would only get 1% benefit for one year. Kirkpatrick said WCL would again receive .50 with an anticipation of values remaining steady. She anticipates WCL should stay at .50 for a while, however, once values go up the .50 begins to drop again.

Reynolds explained bank capacity to the board. Sometimes WCL has not figured in an annexation or utility benefit this leaves the difference between highest collection rate possible and what WCL actually budgeted for the year. Reynolds praised Business Manager Peggy Bryan for her skills and flexibility that allows him to work with WCL to make these changes at the last minute.

Minutes from the May meeting were approved.

Bryan presented the Financial Report through May 31, 2009. The WCL budget report is right on target with expenses at 38%, budget for project, organization of materials under, public services and admin slightly over, no project code for the architect, also grant staff money showing up on this report. Bryan said she held higher cash in treasury to allow for unforeseen expenses while she is gone for vacation. John Aune moved to accept the report, Jon Kehne seconded, and the motion passed

Circulation Kirkpatrick said WCL may consider dropping Ask Us 24/7 online service due to low user statistics. She said this was a good program but was not used enough. Kirkpatrick said the library should donate two hours a week to remain in the 24/7 network but due to staffing constraints, Washington State Library has allowed them to forgo this obligation. She said WCL has added Consumer Reports in response to the library receiving many request for the website.

Levy Lid Continued Kirkpatrick explained that due to limits set on revenues WCL can collect following the passage of I-747 the library had to respond by limiting services we can offer to county residents. She said WCL has not afforded online audio books or expanded branch hours, just two examples that impact county residents. She said that part of the intention of I-747 was that local government would come back to the voters and ask for money as it was needed. Kirkpatrick said WCL is at that point now. She read from a prepared Jefferson County press release that explained their need for a levy lift. Kirkpatrick appreciated the tone of the release that explains to voters, "If you would like to maintain what we already have," the lift is necessary. Kristie also liked the usage of the word "restore" in raising the levy amount to a level previously approved by voters. Kristie reported that smaller districts often levy near .50, while larger districts with bigger tax bases might might levy at a considerably lesser amount.

Peggy again shared a document that demonstrates the impact I-747 has over a length of time. John Aune said the projected impact is "pretty staggering." Director Leslee Miller said she was concerned about people who don't use the library. They may wonder what's in it for them to pass a levy lift. Bryan said she does receive feedback from people who are not library users but appreciate the good work done at WCL. Aune shared that in ten years on the board he has never received a single complaint about the library operation. Kirkpatrick did affirm Miller's concern about the levy lift being passed in Miller's Colton and Uniontown areas. She said many of these residents use the Neill Public Library in Pullman instead of their local branches. Director Jon Kehne asked how much it would cost to run an election. Bryan estimated anywhere from $1,000 to $16,000 depending on how many agencies were also seeking voter approval on resolutions, etc. Realistically she felt the cost would be just $1,000 since the request would be made during the busy November election. Kehne did say it was too bad the request had to be made in light of increased land evaluations and the poor economy.

Jon Kehne made a motion to pursue levy lid lift at the July meeting, Leslee Miller seconded and board approved motion

Building update Kirkpatrick said her contact Roni Baer at USDA said approval for the renovation project should come on June 30. Kirkpatrick handed out a sheet with the update detailing progress and planning.

Kirkpatrick said the library would partner with the United States ten year census to help raise awareness for the importance of this project. Peggy signed a 2010 Census Partner Proclamation supporting the work of the census which also allowed her to apply for grant funding.

Stimulus Funding Stimulus funding is being made available to improve Broadband connections to libraries, hospitals and schools. Whitman County Library is investigating possible projects with either the local Port district or other libraries across WA state.

Kirpatrick said the Albion library branch might move to a larger area to accommodate an expanded computer lab. Garren Shannon of Pullman schools hopes a computer lab might be attained to benefit Albion students who attend Pullman schools. Pullman has recognized Albion students to be among their poorest kids. The town, school and library are investigating possible funding sources.

Summer Reading This year's program is for adults, teens and children. Kirkpatrick challenged all Library Board members to complete the program by reading and reviewing three books over the summer. A short one-sentence review is all that is required to complete.

Rural Heritage Project Whitman County Rural Heritage is moving full speed ahead. A $9000 grant was received from the Whitman County Historic preservation committee to produce a countywide collection and two exhibits.

Library Supporter of the Month David Yu will receive the July library supporter of the month. Yu is commended for producing a YouTube video about the library, volunteering and advocating for the library. Yu will attend the July Board meeting to receive his award from the Board.

Erica Willson is working on a grant project to assist residents with career development and job hunting. She will apply for the LSTA funding in late June.

The next Board meeting will be Tuesday, July 21 at 4 p.m. in Colfax.

With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 5:23.

Peggy Bryan, Recording Secretary

Kristie Kirkpatrick, Library Director

Teresa Myott, Board Chair

If you have any questions, please contact:

Kristie Kirkpatrick
Whitman County Library
102 S Main Street
Colfax, Washington 99111

509 397-4366 or toll-free 1-877-733-3375