Jackson County Library Advisory Committee: Meeting minutes, July 29, 2013


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The Jackson County Library Services Library Advisory Committee held a special meeting July 29 to discuss library funding ideas proposed during a Board of Commissioners public hearing on July 26. Here are draft minutes, prepared by recording secretary Betsy Randolph and archived on the Jackson County, Oregon government website.

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Jackson County Library Advisory Committee: Meeting minutes, July 29, 2013

  1. 1. JACKSON COUNTY LIBRARY SERVICES 205 South Central Avenue Medford, Oregon 97501 Library Advisory Committee Minutes A special meeting of the Library Advisory Committee was held Monday, July 29, 2013, 3:30 p.m., in the Adams Community Meeting Room at the Medford Library, 205 South Central Avenue, Medford, Oregon. Advisory Committee Members Present Janet Anderson Michelle Blum Atkinson Susan Kiefer Bruce McGregor Carolyn Stieber Absent George DeMartini Kevin Keating Also Present Jackson County Commissioner John Rachor; Jackson County Library Business Manager Lisa Garcia; Library Director Kim Wolfe; Jackson County Deputy Administrator Harvey Bragg; Former City of Ashland Mayor Cathy Shaw; Former Library Advisory Committee Chair Lynn Howe; Medford Library Manager Suzann Harrison; Jackson County Library Foundation Executive Director Shelley Austin; Friends of the Medford Library members Mitchell Seidman, Marjorie Showalter, and Maureen Swift; Members of the public Call to Order The meeting was called to order at 3:31 p.m. by Library Advisory Committee Chair Bruce McGregor. Chair McGregor welcomed the audience. This special meeting of the Library Advisory Committee had been called in order that the members might further discuss the proposed library funding ideas that were put forth during the recent Board of Commissioners public hearing on library funding and the continued discussion with stakeholders that occurred on Friday, July 26, 2013. Note: The following minutes of the Library Advisory Committee are presented in draft form and have not been approved by the Committee.
  2. 2. Library Director Kim Wolfe briefly recapped Jackson County Library Services’ current fiscal year 2013-14 budget situation. The materials budget was reduced approximately 19 percent ($142,000). An additional $250,000 reduction was imposed on the budget beginning July 2013. If no sustainable funding is generated by the end of fiscal year 2013-14, all library branches, with the exception of Medford, will close. If no sustainable funding is found by the end of fiscal year 2014-15, the Medford library will also close. A two-week temporary closure is planned for spring of 2014 to help offset part of the $250,000 additional reduction. Commissioner John Rachor spoke about the public hearing two weeks ago and then the library stakeholders’ meeting last Friday. He expressed that while he and his fellow Commissioners would like to see all the libraries stay open, “we know the reality.” He indicated that he, personally, was in favor of the idea of the creation of a South Valley Library District. That district would approximately follow the boundaries of House District 5 which include Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Applegate, Ruch, and Jacksonville. A discussion ensued, with input from Deputy Administrator Harvey Bragg, about the various models of library districts that could be formed and the governance of those districts. A special or service district need not be contiguous, but each city within its boundary and wanting to be a part of it would need to pass a resolution to join. Unincorporated areas within a district’s borders could be included in the district by resolution by the Board of Commissioners. If the Board of Commissioners did not want to refer a district to a ballot, then signatures would have to be gathered to qualify a measure to be placed before voters. A special district could be funded by either asking for a permanent rate (which would be attached to the State’s tax cap) or by an operating levy for a specified number of years. A special district would be governed by its own elected board whereas the County Board of Commissioners would govern a service district. Cathy Shaw, Chair of the committee proposing the South Valley Library District, addressed the Library Advisory Committee. The area chosen for the South Valley Library District was based on voting patterns of prior library elections and roughly follows the boundaries of House District 5. The committee felt that voters this area would be most favorable to passing a library district. In looking at Jackson County as a whole, it would also encompass the largest area as possible to canvass for support in the least amount of time in order to put a district measure on the May 2014 ballot. They recommend the South Valley Library District be a special district in which its own elected board would govern those library branches within its boundary, rather than a service district tied into the County, its funding, and governed by the Board of Commissioners. She said the supporters of the special district want to make sure that the voters’ money is dedicated strictly to the libraries and could not be used for anything else. Ms. Shaw also indicated that by pulling those six branches within the South Valley Library District boundary “off the County’s ledger,” the County would possibly then have funds to keep the other branches open for another year. She said that two Commissioners had indicated to her they were committed to the idea of the South Valley District and if it passes, they would be amenable to doing just that. Finally, Ms Shaw indicated that if a service-type district was ultimately recommended, then their district steering committee would most likely decide to formulate plans to fund Ashland branch on its own.
  3. 3. Former chair of the Jackson County Library Committee Lynn Howe addressed the group. She indicated that of all the ideas she has heard, the South Valley Library District plan is the one that she feels works best. She recommended that a Library Advisory Committee member be at “all the tables” to make sure that the ultimate goal of a county-wide library system be retained. Jackson County Library Foundation Executive Director Shelley Austin recommended that a member of the Library Advisory Committee be included on the South Valley District’s steering committee. In answer to an audience member’s concern, Mr. Bragg said that the formation of a South Valley Library District would not preclude other cities or areas opting in to join the district nor to run their own campaign to order to fund their local branch library. After further discussion, Library Advisory Committee Member Susan Kiefer made a motion that the Library Advisory Committee supports the plan of the proposed South Valley Library District, along with the idea that, if the district passes, then additional funding methods will continue to be pursued in order that all of the existing County library branches eventually are funded. The Library Advisory Committee directs Chair Bruce McGregor to convey its recommendation via letter to the Board of Commissioners (MSC Kiefer/Anderson). The motion passed unanimously. Adjourn The meeting was adjourned at 4:38 p.m. by Chair Bruce McGregor. Next Meeting The next regular business meeting of the Committee will be held in the Administrative Offices Conference Room at the Medford Library, 205 South Central Avenue, Medford, on Monday, August 12, 2013, at 3:30 p.m. Betsy Randolph Recording Secretary