Library bond: $30 per year

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— South Routt Library officials estimate that a new $1.5 million building will cost the average taxpayer $30 a year if voters pass a bond issue and a mill levy increase in November.

The estimates are based on property assessed for $100,000, which the south Routt Library District felt was a fair average for the community.

The bond issue by itself would cost south Routt residents $22.78 annually for 20 years and the mill levy increase would cost an average of $7.55 in increased property taxes.

Both ballot questions will have to be passed if the project will move forward.

The bond issue would pay for the one-time construction costs of the building. The mill levy would pay the ongoing operational cost of the library, including maintenance, snow removal and the increased utilities on a larger building. The mill levy increase also may pay for a director of the library, if the board decides to do that.

"If anything, these numbers will go down because they don't take in account grants," project coordinator Dina Murray said.

The library district is applying for a $300,000 energy impact grant from the state government to help bring down the costs of the building.

The district also is applying for a $50,000 grant from the Boetcher Foundation in Denver. Boetcher is a private organization that donates money for similar projects around the state, Murray said.

Furthermore, Murray plans to look closer at the cost of building a new library to see if she can knock the $1.5 million figure down.

"We really are going to have to take a fine-toothed comb through the budget," Murray said.

Library officials decided last year that the libraries in Oak Creek and Yampa were too small, and began working on plans to build a new building in Oak Creek.

The new library would replace the Oak Creek library but the Yampa library would remain open.

The final blueprints show a 5,800-square-foot building on Sharp and Oak streets. Included in the building plan is a large area for books, with places to read, a public meeting room and an outdoor plaza.

"I know that we still need to reach out and educate people about this project," said Liz Mauch, president of the South Routt Library Board.

Library board members have held open houses and presented the building plans at town meetings and community events to give the project some momentum.

Now, the library district is forming a campaign committee to attempt to educate more south Routt residents about the project.

Mauch feels that the public relations work is necessary to sell the project, which will be on the ballot with a multimillion dollar bond for the South Routt School District. That bond is for upgrading and refurbishing all three public schools in south Routt.

"This is going to be particularly difficult with the schools' bond (question)," Mauch said. "We don't want to be in competition."

Both building projects will be important decisions for the south Routt residents to make, Murray said.

"These are basic community issues," Murray said. "They will say a lot about south Routt and what kind of community it will be."

For years, residents in west Routt and south Rout counties have depended on Steamboat Springs for some of the basic services, like a good library, she said.

"Both of our communities are big enough to develop some of our own services now," Murray said.

She urged residents to think about what kind of south Routt they want to have and what kind of services they want available.

"It's time for us to decide what quality of community do we want to have," Murray said.

A display of the proposed library building will be at the Oak Creek Town Hall and both south Routt libraries.

To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail dcrowl@amigo.net

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