Many reasons to build library now
This is Part Two of a letter written to address the ad currently running in the Aspen Times and the Aspen Daily News entitled “Let’s Get It Right!” and is paid for by “Citizens for One Library” (COL).
3) COL’s Criticism: Unnecessarily High Taxes for Residents and Business Owners
The Facts: Yes, quality library facilities do cost money. It is impossible to provide modern library services without raising taxes. If the suggestions of COL were to be followed our tax bite would be larger than the Library District’s proposal and the services would be less.
Question: Is it better to wait another six or seven years to build a new library at a much higher taxpayer cost or vote YES on 4b and 4C and be able to use the library in three years at a lower taxpayer cost?
4) COL’s Question: Are the Library Board’s Growth Assumptions Realistic?
Answer: The growth assumptions did not come from the library board. A study done by RFTA examined the population growth in the Roaring Fork Valley.
The study that examined trends for separate areas of the valley was published in January 2003. Historically, the greater Basalt area has grown annually 8.1 percent from 1990 to 1995 and 13.8 percent from 1995 to 2000.
An annual growth rate of 10 percent would increase the Basalt Regional Library District to more than 20,000 people in the next six years. An annual growth rate of 8 percent would do this in seven years and at a 6 percent rate it would take nine years. Public buildings usually last from 25 to 30 years. The error, if there is one, resides in underestimating population growth and planning to build a library that is too small.
The RFTA study also provided forecasts for individual communities based on family size and number of households. The growth expected for downtown Basalt from 1998 to 2025 is 87 percent, while the expected growth for the El Jebel area is 137 percent, which is another reason to build the new library in El Jebel.
5) COL’s Criticism: We are not Vail, Aspen, Steamboat or Telluride!
The Facts: Currently the Basalt Regional Library operates on $280,000 per year. We have a third-world facility and a meager budget.
If the library initiative passed, the district will have an operating budget at full build out of $1.2 million per year for a population of more than 12,000. For comparison, the Pitkin County Library plans to spend $2 million next year for a population of approximately 13,000.
Question: Do you and our children deserve less?
Finally I agree with COL’s slogan “Let’s Get It Right.” It’s just a matter of What is Right?
I think COL should change their name to DAPO-WHPOL-DB which stands for “Developers, Architects, Politicians and Others Who Hope to Profit from One Library in Downtown Basalt.”
I will be voting YES on 4B and 4C and I hope you will too, for our children’s sake and our tax savings. Thank you for your kind attention.
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