Advising against the library and debt

Published 3:27 pm Thursday, February 4, 2016

Recently, one person who does not reside in Buckingham County and a couple of people who do wrote letters to The Herald supporting the building of a new library in Buckingham County.  This column is in response to those people. Please allow me to make two points.

First, if the county should decide to build this building, according to estimates that I have heard, it would need to borrow approximately $2 million-4 million, depending on the size and features chosen. 

Also, after construction, costs of operating the building would be considerable. Heating, cooling, purchasing equipment, purchasing books and magazines, upkeep and librarians’ salaries would be necessary expenses.

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Borrowing money is a dangerous business. The Bible gives sound advice on the matter of borrowing.

Paul writes in Romans 13:8, “Love your neighbour! Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.”

Solomon advises in Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.”

A Yiddish proverb states, “Interest on debts grows without rain.”

Ogden Nash, the American poet, observed, “Some debts are fun when you are acquiring them, but none are fun when you set about retiring them.”

Borrowing for this proposed project would add significantly to the county’s current debt of approximately $49 million.

It would also add significantly to the cost of the county’s debt service.

Second, history shows us that all investments are not necessarily wise. Remember the Edsel, the Studebaker, the Hudson and the Nash automobiles? 

Oh, and don’t forget about the horse and buggy. Would you invest now in a factory that is being designed to build buggies?

I doubt that you would. Why? 

Buggies have been replaced by the automobile. Just so, libraries are well along in the process of being replaced by Blackberries, smart phones, as well as laptop and desktop computers.

Any excess county funds should go toward reducing the county’s debt. 

Buckingham County’s committing itself to long-term debt for the building of a facility that is rapidly becoming archaic would not be wise.

FILLMER HEVENER has lived in Buckingham County for 49 years. He is the pastor of Guthrie Memorial Chapel in Cumberland. His email address is