Library Support Is 'Widespread'

Published 4:23 pm Thursday, April 10, 2014

BUCKINGHAM — There is widespread support for building a new library in Buckingham County, according to a survey released this week commissioned by library leaders.

Nine out of 10, or 88 percent, of Buckingham citizens surveyed support the idea, according to data from Concentric Direct LLC, a firm that conducted the survey and advised the library leaders.

The results show “widespread support for the new library in Buckingham County, even among residents who are not frequent users of the library,” according to a press release.

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The Board of Supervisors, which has included $250,000 for debt service for the proposed project in their proposed fiscal year 2014-2015 budget, will hold a public hearing on the budget and increased tax rates on Monday, April 14 at 7:15 p.m.

“For some time, supporters of the Buckingham County Library have been advocating for a new building. In the past two years, there have been over six hundred attendees at various fund raising events, and the project has been discussed before the Board of Supervisors. Wednesday, however, the group revealed strong public support behind the proposal,” the release cites.

“It is rare to see a major project have this much support in the community,” commented John Pudner, president of Concentric Direct. “In addition to seeing 88 percent support across the community, I was astonished to see that even among those people who self-identified as infrequent users…still wanted the project to move forward.”

Puder added in the release, “There is clearly a strong belief that the new library is integral to the identity of the community, the education of its children, and the pride of its citizens…The support is overwhelming.”

The release explains that the survey was conducted over the course of one week and many respondents expressed an interest in taking further action to see that the project is approved.

“This is an issue that is driving numerous calls to local leaders and seeing incredible citizen participation,” commented former District Five Supervisor and library supporter Dr. Brian D. Bates in the release. “The people of Buckingham are pushing hard for this project and are speaking out in favor of taking this step to improve our community.”

“The Board of Supervisors (is) scheduled to meet on April 14, and the library will be on the agenda as a topic of discussion as a part of the proposed budget. Residents are encouraged to attend to express their desire to see the proposal approved,” the release concludes.

“This proposed budget does include a reserve for debt service of $250,000 for the library, but it does not include any additional funding for additional library operating costs,” County Administrator Rebecca S. Carter detailed in a budget memo to supervisors in March.

“I would think that would be encouraging,” commented Diane O’Bryant, president of the Buckingham County Public Library Board, following the budget work session held March 19, which included the announcement of the proposed debt service. “Because, if you’re putting this over here for a debt, then you’re kind of hoping you’re going to get a loan…I was encouraged.”

Carter told the board, during the work session, “In looking at and in speaking with Davenport and Company, who has assisted us with getting our loans through for this building (the County Administration Complex) and for the school and getting the best interest rate and the loans for the school, has told us that we would probably bid it out through the banks, and get a better deal and go through the Industrial Development Authority and have them bond it, a bonded loan. And, that, probably (would be) $250,000 in a 15-year period of payback. And I think that kind of beats the (loan) for 40 years through (USDA) Rural Development, because you’d be paying back over $8 million dollars. So, for that reason, I had reserved $250,000 to make that library debt payment.”

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, which is set to be constructed on County-donated property just off of the intersection of Routes 15 and 20, where Main Street enters the industrial park.