I don’t want to create community tension but we are asked to approve a $40 million new library building that apparently will for many years increase the library portion of our property tax by 90 percent, over and above any increase in our municipal taxes, school taxes, etc.
Here are my questions and concerns: The Spring 2016 Plainfield Library District Access newsletter offers a many services that reflect “a new generation” for library services. Why increase the services offered then complain that we have so many participants that we need more money to provide a new and improved facility to properly service them? Is there no limit to the services/funding the library will offer/need?
Second, many of the free services offered are competing with the private sector. Personally, I don’t think taxpayer’s money should be funding those services. For example, under the “Did you know” section, the library states, “there is no limit to the number of DVDs and Blu-rays you can check out…” But don’t we still have businesses renting/selling DVD’s and Blu-rays? So why is our tax dollars necessary to provide them free of charge?
Our tax-funded library offers many preschool programs that directly compete with other preschools and daycare programs run by private businesses – only we are funding the free programs. Are we being fair to the businesses that are already pay their share of our local taxes? We should encourage not unfairly compete against them.
Further, why is the library offering educational (reading, writing, science, etc.) to school-age children when we provide first class instruction in our local schools? Children can always use more reinforcement, but $40 million worth? Could library volunteers not be recruited to assist our schools in extra-curricular support?
The proposed library schematics provided at: http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/pdf/IL-Plainfield-Schematic-Building-Program.pdf (page 72) shows the apparent need for a staff shower room. Really? Why do staff now need to take showers? Is there no effort to reign in spending of our tax dollars in this endeavor? This is extravagant! What other extravagance has been slipped into the plan?
In the private sector, aging buildings are handled by setting back provisions for regular maintenance and upkeep. Why wasn’t this budgeted in years past? Were the ADA concerns catching us by surprise? Private enterprises that overlook, misjudge or do not plan sufficiently, risk going out of business. Public institutions simply ask for more money.
To tear down the building that we have already sacrificially funded to construct a $40 million “state-of-the-art” building while increasing the library portion of our property tax by about 90 percent is not a decision that I can support.