Garfield County library district eyes $9.5 million for new facilities | AspenTimes.com

Garfield County library district eyes $9.5 million for new facilities

John Colson
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Garfield County’s library district next week plans to borrow $9.5 million to build two new facilities, one in Carbondale and one in Glenwood Springs.

The loan actually will be in the form of Certificates of Participation (COPs), which are similar to bonds in that the COPs are sold to investors and the investors are repaid out of the library district’s tax revenues.

In both towns, officials say the libraries are too small to serve their clientele, and in Glenwood Springs, at least, a lack of on-street parking has become a significant problem.

Library Director Amelia Shelley said recently that the new Glenwood library is expected to cost roughly $6 million and the Carbondale facility is projected at $5 million.

Shelley appeared before the board of county commissioners on Oct. 4 to alert them to the pending sale of the COPs, and to get the county’s blessing for their anticipated 2011 budget.

Shelley told commissioners that the district expects to have to dip into its reserves to build the projects, given recent declines in its revenues from a countywide sales tax.

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Commissioner Mike Samson asked the county’s finance director, Lisa Dawson, about the implications of the county approving the budget with the COPs, and was told that there are sufficient reserve balances to cover the COPs should that become necessary.

County Manager Ed Green recently said the county is in discussions with the state treasurer’s office about issues having to do with sales taxes. But he told the commissioners that the state has directed the county not to discuss the matter publicly at this point.

According to the library district’s amended budget for 2011, the site for a new Glenwood library is still under negotiation with the city, and the project is not expected to start until some time next year.

The Carbondale project is expected to begin next year, too. The library district is in final negotiations with the Roaring Fork School District to buy the site of the old Carbondale Middle School tennis courts, at the intersection of Third Street and Sopris Avenue.

The library district expects to pay approximately $675,000 for the 13,000 square foot site, which is meant to hold a new, much larger facility than the current Gordon Cooper Library.

jcolson@postindependent.com

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