Tuesday, December 11, 2007

From a fellow librarian (unedited)

Consolidation my left foot! This is going to cost the
tax payers of Lincoln Twp and the Town of Walkerton
over 5 million dollars! We had a donor who wanted to
GIVE us a parcel of land worth 1/2 million dollars and
then BUILD us the building of our choice and design
for another 2.5 million dollars. We are in the middle
of a fund-raising campaign to raise 1.5 million
dollars(or more). Needless to say, this mess that has
been conjured up by this "Blue Ribbon" commission is
going to cost the people of Walkerton in a BIG way.
Not only do we loose a new building (at no cost to the
tax payers!!) we are now going to have to absorb all
the debt service from South Bend (sorry I just can't
stand to call them St. Joseph County Public Library),
Mishawaka PL and you (New Carlisle-Olive Twp). We are
talking debt service of 33 million from SJCPL,
probably 15 million from Mishawaka, and whatever you
have on yours(10-12 million??). Our tax rate is LOW,
very low. SJCPL is over 3 times as much as Walkerton
rate. So the people of Walkerton get screwed out of a
NEW cost-free, no debt service library AND get their
tax rates tripled!! Somehow I fail to see the cost
savings in that!!But then again, I am just a little
hick, from a little town, with a little library and
according to the "powers that be" I should just stop
breathing and go meekly into that good night. I don't
think so bubba! You got voted in and we can damn sure
vote you out! I am still smarting from the sale of the
Toll Road, so don't get me started here!! God knows
the Walkerton Public Library saw no monies from the
sale of the Toll Road, yet the funds were supposed to
be paid to the "infrastructure" of the various
counties adjacent to the Toll Road. If Libraries
aren't infrastructure, then I sure don't know what
infrastructure is!!

And don't get me started on school consolidation!
Walkerton Schools are a consolidation of Polk(Marshall
Co), Lincoln and Liberty Twps(St. Joseph Co.)& Johnson
Twp ( LaPorte Co). There are approximately 6,000
students in all the schools. Oregon-Davis (Starke Co)
is also a consolidated school, but has a very small
enrollment (less than 3000). The were the State
champions in both boys AND girls basketball last year.
If the rules apply again to small schools, then OD
will close and all the kids will be bussed to Knox.
South Central is also small and would be closed also.
And don't forget Union-North Schools(both St Joe
County and Marshall County)which has a small
enrollment. All this will cease and the kids will be
bussed to either South Bend ( which has a 42%
graduation rate!!) or Plymouth.

According to this formula,there will be only ONE town
allowed in each county in the near future, and all the
rest of the areas will be designated as Area A, Area B
and Area C. Walkerton is already treated like we are
Area Z, so it would be nothing new for us. I once
actually got a phone call from someone at the
City-County Building who asked if Walkerton was
actually IN St. Joe County!! I was appalled!!

Needless to say, I am IRATE about all this. I
certainly see no cost savings, nor do I see how this
will improve services for my patrons. I only see this
as an excuse to disenfranchise everyone who lives
"outside the by-pass" and burden them with more taxes
and give them less for those tax dollars.
I, for one, plan on giving them hell until they drag
me out of my building kicking and screaming.

Connie Swanson
Walkerton-Lincoln Twp. Public Library

1 comment:

Connie said...

As to debt service..... the DLGF rep told me that even if consolidation happens debt service still belongs only to the originating geographical area. I can just see a merged county library with multiple and different debt service rates in each town, city, township.