June 4th, 2016
I am sure you are well aware of the need for a new North East library. The Cecil County Public Library director, staff, and Board of Trustees have been diligently working on this project for half a decade now. We acquired the land last year at a cost under our original estimate.
We are about to engage in the County Capital Improvement Program which forecasts and budgets for large capital projects. We seek to begin the design and engineering process in fiscal year 2018 and then continue in the following years with construction, furnishings and library materials for a completion target of 2020. We’ve done our homework and can provide detailed data and rationale for our request, the alternatives we have examined, the comparable costs of other projects, the special requirements of a modern library and more. We have also planned the project to benefit two or our largest communities—both the Elkton and North East Libraries will benefit.
At a recent work session of the County Council there was discussion regarding reducing our overall request of $18.8 million for this project to $12 million. This would not be a reasoned adjustment or a mere trim. The result would be an amputation. It would leave us unable to meet the needs of our community. It would re-create the present condition of a North East library that was obsolete the day it opened its doors. This kind of cut would also send a strong signal to the state that we are not serious about meeting state standards and would surely jeopardize our state grant requests.
Oddly enough it is likely that the county portion of the library cost might actually increase with this smaller budget, in that the state may take a bye, leaving a bigger bill for the county. I hope that you will demonstrate your support at this final hour by contacting our Council members before they make their final decision this coming Tuesday evening. I would urge you to attend this critical budget meeting (which begins with citizen comments at 6 PM) and make your support for the Cecil County Public Library visible.
You can learn more at this link.
Brigadier General Kennard R. Wiggins, Jr.
President of the Board of Library Trustees
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