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Library group reroutes efforts
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 00:00

The recent measure to pass a sales tax increase to help pay for a new town library failed, but that hasn’t discouraged the supporters of a new library from continuing to work toward their goal.

That’s not to say the failure of the tax initiative wasn’t disappointing for some library advocates.

“It would be great to have the support of the people,” said Linda Harkness, president of the Citizens Committee for the Camp Verde Library, also known as CCCVL.

The tax measure failed 1,997 to 1,101 in the November election. It was put on the ballot by a group calling itself the Citizens’ Library and Park Construction Sales Tax Initiative, organized by local residents.

The town had already sent a pre-application to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Agency for financial assistance in building a new library.

While the failure of the tax initiative was a setback, it doesn’t necessarily preclude some sort of funding from the USDA. Plans might have to be scaled back, however.

“The USDA will fund us,” Harkness said. “As a town, we will always qualify for a loan.”

It’s just a matter of what that potential loan will pay for.

It might just be enough to pay for an addition to the town’s aging library, Harkness said. The committee, formed in recent years as a private answer to funding for a new library, has already raised thousands of dollars, in everything from donations and yard sales to land grants.

The point is the group has enough to secure some promise of a payback for any loan, Harkness said.

The pre-application to the USDA was for $1.2 million, Harkness said, but the group would like to see $3.2 million in order to build a library based on current plans.

The failure of the tax initiative was a “trip-up point,” Harkness said, but supporters of a new library are moving forward.

“It’s been somewhat frustrating,” Harkness said. “As a community we seem to be afraid to apply for grants and loans, and it’s to our detriment.”

Harkness said while the economy has been suffering, it only reinforces the need to stress education and the public benefit of an expanded library.

“We should certainly be promoting education right now — education and the betterment of the community,” Harkness said.

In a recent report, Camp Verde Town Manager Russ Martin said he had been working to finish the details of the loan application with the USDA.

Martin said he was planning to meet with USDA representatives sometime this week, but he’s not sure what the final outcome of the library funding effort will be.

“We’ll see what and if anything can be funded,” Martin said. “It might just end up being something that could be put on the shelf.”

Martin said he wasn’t deliberately seeking to shelve the library project, but economic realities being what they are, he’s being realistic.

Martin reported the town provided financial data and assurances of credit to the USDA, and plans to seek further direction from the council once the USDA responds.


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