The library in Canby is an important issue for many voters, as it should be. Our library needs improvements and I am looking forward to what will be a beautiful addition to downtown. I am still receiving a lot of questions about my vote on the library and what my idea for an alternate plan would have been.
I published a complete response in regards to my "no" vote on my blog. The reasons for my "no" vote included: the debt load we would incur with the proposed plan, the lack of community involvement with the plan that was approved, and the location of the library tying up prime economic real estate that is close to 99E. I urge you to read my full post.
In reality, I did come to both Mayor Carson and our city administrator, Greg Ellis, with my idea for a plan. The library fought hard years ago for their current location on Holly and 3rd, adjacent to Wait Park. This is Canby's living room. It makes sense to have the library in this location. There was structural research done on the current building and it was found to be structurally sound and could be remodeled and added onto. There is also additional real estate directly behind the current library; I offered the idea that these properties could be acquired by the city and we could build and extend the library back. It was also found that you could add a second level to the library.
The most enticing part of such a plan is that we would save a significant amount of money! We still get our new library, still take advantage of historically low construction rates, yet have a lower debt load that we can payoff quicker in the future.
Would you still have wanted the current library project at a price tag of $8.1 million if you knew $500,000 is pulled from schools every year the URD is in place? Such funds are also pulled long after the URD ends as we still pay off the debts incurred by the URD program.
When I brought these ideas to Mr. Ellis, he did say these could be considered. Mayor Carson essentially had no response and did not offer the idea for consideration or push it forward in any way.
It's also important for the citizens of Canby to understand that the mayor and city council positions are not full time, paid positions. Yes, we have influence and we make decisions. But our city administrator, planner, and outside consulting agencies (consultants that often do not even live in Canby) are the ones formulating the plans and policies that we then meet on and make decisions on. While we as a council will contribute, shape, mold, and determine what is right for our community, it is important to know that there are others involved in the process. Communication and open dialogue is crucial, so educated decisions can be made.