Funding Options To Be Presented

Published 2:41 pm Tuesday, March 11, 2014

BUCKINGHAM — Members of the Board of Supervisors in Buckingham will be presented with funding options for a new Buckingham County Public Library this month by County Administrator Rebecca S. Carter.

“The budget work sessions begin this month, and I do not want to make any hasty recommendations without exploring all opportunities. However, what I do plan to present with this budget process (are) budget options for your consideration to reserve money for this project,” Carter explained in a March 10 letter to the board.

“The presentation made to you during the February meeting requested that an agreement to pay for the building and funding be in place for the FY 2014-2015 budget process. I believe there to be funding opportunities other than the Rural Development, and I would like to look into all options. I do not want to rush the process and possibly not obtain the best possible funding proposal, interest rates, and terms,” she explains in her letter.

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During the board meeting held Monday night, Carter explained that, “There is no grant money from (USDA) Rural Development for a library. However, they’re willing to lend us the money at a 40-year loan…I would not want to do anything that irrational of bringing a 40-year loan, because look at the interest you would be paying back…So, I am looking, and Karl (Carter, the County’s finance director) and I have some meetings set up this week, looking at other possible opportunities of funding for the library. I don’t want to let haste make waste in the money. However, I can take care of that part of it and bring a funding recommendation to you all…” Carter related.

Organizers of the proposed new Buckingham County Public Library are seeking a funding partnership with the County to secure up to $3.5 million to construct the facility.

County supervisors voted unanimously in February to forward the proposal to Carter for analysis and potential inclusion in the upcoming 2014-2015 fiscal year budget process.

The proposal, presented in a PowerPoint presentation by Brian Bates and Frank Howe, members of the library’s fundraising committee, included working with the County’s industrial development authority to facilitate the loan proceeds to the library board.

A board budget work session is scheduled for Wednesday, March 19.

A Liaison Committee

An ad-hoc liaison committee, consisting of members of the library board and board of supervisors, has been established to discuss the proposed new library.

During Monday’s board of supervisors meeting, District Four Supervisor John Staton and District Five Supervisor Cassandra Stish were appointed to represent the board on the committee. According to both Carter and a letter from Diane O’Bryant, president of Buckingham County Public Library, Spencer Adams, Julie Dixon, Linda Paige, Pat Howe, and Chip Davis would also serve on the committee.

Carter continues in her letter, explaining during private discussions with several members of the Library Board, “we discussed the possibility of a committee to address other concerns from the board members and also the public. The Library Board has appointed four Library Board members to this proposal liaison committee. I ask the chairman to consider the establishment of this liaison committee and the appointment of two board members.”

Donnie Bryan, who represents District Two and serves as chairman of the board, said he thought the committee was a wonderful idea.

“One concern expressed was who would be the owner of the (proposed) building,” Carter commented in her letter. “I have communicated this question to the library, and I have received a response that the Library Board agrees with the County of Buckingham being the owner of the building.”

“The Buckingham County Public Library Board of Directors is amendable to Buckingham County owning the proposed new library building, to be used exclusively as a public library, and administered in a similar manner to the Farmville-Prince Edward Library’s relationship with the Town of Farmville and Prince Edward County,” O’Bryant stated in a February 25 email to Carter.

Public Comment

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Bates, a former County supervisor, presented what he referred to as preliminary survey data regarding the proposed library, which had been collected recently.

He offered that 1,200 voters has been polled, “In an effort to try to identify what kind of support there was for this project in the county, an effort’s been underway for about a week now to see what kind of support there is among the voters of Buckingham County.”

He explained that 63 percent were aware of the library board’s proposal, while 91 percent agreed that a new library would benefit the county.

Pat Howe offered a timeline of the library’s planning for the new building, offering, “This is a process that has been in discussion and development for over 15 years, with sustained effort over the last seven years.”

Frank Howe asked the board to support the idea of an ad-hoc liaison committee, while resident Quinn Robinson called it unusual to have a private, non-profit organization plan the new building, likening the project to the PTA planning and constructing a school.