By Robert Warner
September 07, 2011
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Ketchikan City Council had the courage to represent the taxpayers instead of the special interests? Here is their golden opportunity. They can exercise their authority and reject this gravel pit and former garbage dump as the site of a new library. This site never had any merits and many detriments for constructing a new library.
Here are a few more ideas on how to prevent any tax increases on this public library project:
(1) During the public meeting on constructing a new library building last year, it was clearly stated by supporters that "staffing a single story library would require significantly less staffing than the current two story library in the Centennial Building." Let's hold the library department to this pledge and reduce the number of paid library employees.
(2) If this project experiences costs above original construction estimates, reduce the size of the facility being built. For example, meeting rooms could be significantly reduced. They might be nice for a library to have, but Ketchikan has plenty of space for meetings in schools or churches. If it is a large group meeting, the Ketchikan Civic Center was built for that purpose.
(3) Many libraries in Alaska depend on volunteers rather than paid employees to perform many tasks and cover week end library hours. Ketchikan's public library uses very few, if any volunteers. Since the Ketchikan Public Library has a very active Friends of the Library group, I suggest that they be asked to help. This use of volunteers could also reduce the need for paid staffing in the library.
(4) Many public library systems including Seattle Public Library close for a week or two each year to save on staffing costs. Why couldn't Ketchikan Public Library do the same? Seattle libraries close the week of Labor Day. Ketchikan could certainly determine a week per year for a complete closing.
Robert D. Warner
Received September 05, 2011 - Published September 07, 2011
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