Is this the kind of town you would invest in?

10 Jun

Opinion:

Negative P.R. for the Hood continues in the wake of voter rejection May 18 of a proposed special library district. Read today’s report in the AOL Daily Finance page and the piece June 8 in the online version of the Library Journal. Put yourself in the shoes of someone thinking about relocating to the Hood, bringing their business and energy to our community. One of the key questions parents always explore is, How are the schools? By extension, people want to know about the diversity and quality of cultural institutions, including the library. I know I did. Before physically moving to town, I delivered box after box of books to the Hood River Library — a down payment on future use. And three months after moving here, voted for the bonds that built the addition.

I thought it a glowing sign of the quality of this community that its voters would support the physical expansion of the library a decade ago. Which is why I continue to believe that this voter rejection of sustained operating funds was a temporary blip.

As several speakers noted during a session Monday night with the county Board of Commissioners, defeat May 18 doesn’t mean people don’t want or support a library. It means they didn’t like the proposed solution for keeping it open. So, back to the drawing board.

It appears that another measure will be pushed rapidly to the November ballot, in hopes that support will start the wheels rolling to collect taxes in November 2011.

If voters approve whatever plan is advanced to the ballot, the county and library supporters would need to find bridge funding to re-open library doors for the year-long period before tax revenues start coming in. The county previously discussed loaning funds for that purpose, which, of course, would have to be repaid out of tax proceeds. That detail still needs to be worked out.

As depressing as all this is, the Buzzer is optimistic that this community will get its library back. We need it, to attract tenants, to occupy buildings, to pay rent to the downtown property owner who protested the tax impacts of the last ballot proposal to me in a sidewalk chat one day before the May 18 vote.

It’s ironic that this person probably voted against the measure, to avoid paying taxes, yet every week deposits piles of unread Wall Street Journals in the recycling trailer operated by the Hood River Lions (I know this, because I help maintain those recycled papers for the Lions; if you’re interested in Lions membership, give me a shout).

I think about this landlord, and wonder: Why would you pay $119 a year for something you don’t read, but refuse to pay a comparable amount to support a place where everybody can read a variety of publications? Weird.

Well, at least I know where I can find the Wall Street Journal until the library reopens.

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One Response to “Is this the kind of town you would invest in?”

  1. Robert Jones June 15, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    Why are we always threatened with school ,police ,fire ,& library closures ? Just once threaten us with administrative or city worker layoffs , please.Two weeks ago I observed 3 such people, each holding 1 can of spray paint marking the sidewalk for up coming work .And they had a hand held device ,GPS ? One of them didn’t even have to deal with a map .I use the library more then most people but had to vote NO . It will cost me 3-4 years of tax increase because I must buy a computer now . It’s not the money .Enough is enough already . Look at the date on the building . How has it been open for almost 100 years ?

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