Seven speak against library project

Published 3:30 pm Thursday, November 19, 2015

Seven people spoke against the proposed new 9,580 square-foot library on Nov. 10 during the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors’ meeting, citing a tax increase last spring, accessibility to the Internet and county debt.

The comments came before Library Liaison Committee member H. Spencer Adams presented a completed topographical survey, a geotechnical test boring report and a building site plan for the library, which could cost up to $2 million, down for the original $3.5 million proposal.

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In October, supervisors unanimously voted to designate 3.5 acres of county-owned property on Wingo Road adjacent to the Buckingham Recycling Center (just off of U.S. Route 15 near Dillwyn) for the proposed new library.

The action stipulated that the county’s library liaison committee could move forward with the preparation of “necessary construction documents” for a building that the county would own and lease to the library.

District Three Supervisor E.A. “Bill” Talbert questioned the need for soil testing while District Five Supervisor Cassandra Stish suggested that the county’s planning commission review the project because of its proximity to the county industrial park.

“I haven’t heard anything about raising taxes for [the library],” District Seven Supervisor and Board Chairman Danny Allen said. “I’ve had phone calls over the past few days saying they don’t want it right now. I still think it’s a lot of things we need to look into … It’s money in the budget for it.”

In response to claims that supervisors raised taxes last spring to fund the new library, County Administrator Rebecca S. Carter said, “There is a $250,000 library debt service reserve in the budget that’s been there. This is the second year in case the board did decide to move forward. That is balanced in the tax rates we have now, for now.”

District Three Planning Commission Representative Patrick Bowe cautioned the supervisors with use of the property near U.S. Route 15. “Anybody who knows anything about design will tell you that the entrance to this [industrial] park must come off of 15. Be sure that what you’re doing here is not going to interfere with it,” he said. “It can’t be done this way.”

Fillmer Hevener, who presented a resolution from the Buckingham County Republican Party to the board urging the county to use excess funds to pay down the county debt, said the debt should not grow “by borrowing money for any non-emergency projects, such as a library.”

“I’m standing here in total opposition to raising taxes to build a library,” said Philip Boyer. “Most of the people have a library in their pocket. They can find out anything they want to know at their fingertips [on their cell phones] and it won’t cost my grandchildren millions of dollars in their future.”

Quinn Robinson and Marie Flowers spoke in favor of construction of a new library. “It’s ridiculous not to have a library … We need an educated society,” Flowers said.

Reporting on the site plan and other reports, Adams said that the facility “fits very well into this site … That worked out real well as far as the piece of land that’s there.”

“The tests results revealed a soil structure with overall low shrink-swell potential that can hold a structure supported on a shallow, convention footing foundation system,” he read from the report.

“Neither groundwater nor the existent soil type is expected to adversely impact foundation/utility construction.”

Adams said the report indicated a good site selection.

He said the library board has spent about $65,000 to date on the project, paying for all planning expenses.

“This article points out that a 2013 Pew Research Center Report … showed that in the previous decade, every major institution, we say governments, churches, banks and corporations, have fallen in public esteem, except for the … military, first responders and libraries,” Adams said, citing two news articles distributed to the board.