Council backs library plan

Officials voice their support for ballot issues

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— The Steamboat Springs City Council has placed its stamp of approval on the proposed Bud Werner Memorial Library expansion project.

On Tuesday, the council approved a resolution authorizing an agreement between the city and the East Routt Library District. The agreement includes support for the district's intent to expand the library building.

The library district has two issues on this year's ballot. Referendum 5B ask voters to approve an $11.4 million bond issue to fund the construction of the expanded library. Referendum 5A seeks voter approval for a mill levy to fund the upkeep and utility bills for the new building.

The agreement approved by the council also outlines the intentions of the city and the library district.

If the bond issue is approved, the city will move forward with a replacement for the community center, which will be razed to make room for the expansion.

Chris Painter, the library's director, said she is pleased with the agreement because it puts in writing the intentions of both entities and because it serves as a city endorsement of the proposed expansion.

Painter also is pleased that the city intends to take timely action to replace the community center so people will have a place to go.

"This is just one more assurance in writing publicly of everyone's intent to produce a win-win situation for all," Painter said.

The city owns the library building, the ground underneath it and the land on which the library expansion would sit. If voters approve the bond issue, the library district would own the building and the land.

In exchange, the library district would give to the city the former Lockhart property, which borders the library. The city also would receive $500,000 from the library district.

In other business, the Routt County Board of Commissioners and the Steamboat Springs City Council have voted to approve three ballot issues.

On Tuesday, both entities backed resolutions in support of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority's ballot issue, Referendum 5C, which asks for an exemption from the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or TABOR. If approved, the measure would allow the housing authority to retain reserves and keep any unexpected grant and gift monies it did not budget for during the previous year.

County commissioners and City Council members also have approved resolutions supporting statewide referendums C and D. Referendum C would allow the state to keep revenues it collects above the TABOR limits for the next five years and spend it on education, health care and transportation projects. Referendum D would allow the state government to borrow money to complete a specific list of road and bridge construction projects across the state, and it would allow investment in school buildings. Referendum D cannot be passed independently of Referendum C because a portion of Referendum C monies would be used to retire the bonded indebtedness allowable under Referendum D.

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