Friday, April 22, 2011

Hide and Seek with the Westside Branch Library

The 2010-2014 Capital Improvement Program listed the Westside Library being constructed in 2010. The City of Sioux Falls bonded for this new branch library in 2009 with the Quality of Life II bond. The 2010-2014 CIP budgeted $4,300,000 for everything needed to build a full service branch for the citizens of western Sioux Falls. The operating impact included 5 FTE's and 2.5 PT positions with total personnel costs at $389,266.

This project was not begun in 2010. It is April 2011. It was a priority when the city passed the quality of life bond in 2009. It was budgeted for in 2010. The current Mayor has already delayed this project a year meaning it will be at least 2013 before the library hungry citizens of western Sioux Falls have their promised branch.  Has anyone heard anything recently about the Westside Branch Library to be located on the southwest corner of Memorial Park?

And while we are looking for the Westside Branch Library, why not ask the question why branch library planned improvements have decreased as well.  The 2011-2015 Capital Improvement Plan decreased Caille Branch Library Improvements from $80,000 (2010-2014 CIP) to $26,600.  The Ronning Branch Library Improvements decreased from $67,000 (2010-2014 CIP) to $26,600 in the 2011-2015 CIP.

Are these reductions and the delay in the construction of the Westside Branch library part of the plan to help fill the Events Center cookie jar? When it is finally built, will the new Branch Library be a full service branch like the other three City branches with adequate hours of operation? What will it look like? Will there be enough books and other materials budgeted in preparation for the opening? Will there be services for children?

How will the new branch be staffed? Rumor has it that departments have been told no new staff and that they are to hold their 2012 proposed budgets to a zero percent increase. I don't believe you can do that and plan for a new branch library. I am not sure you can have a 2012 proposed budget reflecting a zero percent increase without a decrease in all program services in the general operating fund.


10 comments:

  1. I support SiouxLand LibrariesApril 22, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    Well isn't this interesting! Are we seeing why Felix was FIRED? Rise up West Siders or you aren't going to see your library from this mayor. And look at the reductions for Caille and Ronning libraries. What I don't get is the silence from the Library Board? Where are you and why you have been so silent??? Are you being intimidated too by this mayor?

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  2. You'd think there was a "R" behind mayors name instead of "D" with these budget items BUT, then you remember that he has a "vision" and that vision is the Huether Events Center which is totally ego driven.

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  3. Hey...Joel Rosenthal...what say you?

    Polly Amalo

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  4. Where are the Council Members that represent the West Side of Sioux Falls? Do they care? What do they say?

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  5. What Say I was too long winded to be accepted here as a comment.

    See my response.

    http://southdakotastraighttalk.blogspot.com/2011/04/musings-response.html

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  6. Thank you to Library Board Chair Joel Rosenthal for taking the time to provide a very informative post. If anyone has trouble with his link, just go to the right side of my blog page and look for South Dakota Straight Talk under "My Blog List."

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  7. Great information, Mr Rosenthal, but why haven't we heard any of this. And, why did the mayor put this project off until 2013? Maybe because he is stockpiling money for his event center at the expense of the west side constituents?

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  8. Very informative Mr. Rosenthal. A few concerns.

    You said.

    "Concerning the Westside Branch, the Mayor set forth in his budget proposal 0 percent spending growth goals for 2011 and 2012. The reason, the Mayor expressed to me for the delay is that he did not want to add the operational employees and operational overhead expenses (lights, heat, insurance, and the like) until 2013.

    Regarding the budget cuts to the Caille and Ronning branches; the money was to be used for facilities renovation (HVAC and the like) and were rescheduled in future years’ CIP."

    J.R.

    This is no doubt putting off current outlays so the good mayor has some money in his cookie jar to show potential voters for his "vision".

    You said.

    "In place of the funding for the $1.5 million cut money was taken from the funds that were left over from the Main Branch renovation that had come in (because contractor’s were hungry for work) significantly under budget."

    J.R.

    Significantly under budget means questionable building integrity. A building that leaks, has electrical problem, and other issues is a sign of only one thing. You get what you pay for.

    You said.

    "Yes folks in the “Library World” we're more than disappointed in the construction delay of the Westside Branch but the Mayor was just elected and given the big benefit of the willingness to let him show his stuff...

    The proof is in the pudding...

    Finally any discussion of Siouxland Libraries would be incomplete without mention of the accomplished staff and noting the great job they are doing..."

    J.R.

    This I find to be your most disappointing commentary. You sit idly back and let the good mayor "strut" his stuff by firing the best director the library has ever had?

    Disappointing Joel. Very disappointing. You are right though. The proof is in the pudding, and our good mayor has already shown that in his handling of the Sally Felix affair.

    Perhaps you will be a bit more forthcoming when your term expires next spring...if you're not given the Sally Felix option before then.

    Polly Amalo

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  9. Amen Polly Amalo whoever you are.

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  10. A true politician is Mr Rosenthal talking out of both sides of his mouth. Where was your courage to speak out Mr Library Board Chairman when the very experienced, capable Sally Felix was fired? Not one word in her defense.

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