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River Heights checks out its options for Logan library cards

February 24th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Lis Stewart

RIVER HEIGHTS—Councilwoman Kathryn Hadfield explained the options for River Heights residents seeking a less expensive membership with the Logan City Library at a council meeting Tuesday night.

Twenty River Heights residents have purchased Logan library cards, according to a fact sheet supplied by Hadfield. Those who do not own property in Logan pay $163 per household per year for a card. Logan property owners pay on average $72 as part of a dedicated library tax on residential and business properties, thus receiving “free” library service.

“If we had a dedicated library tax here, as in Logan, the average dedicated tax would be $82,” Hadfield said.

However, a dedicated library tax on River Heights residents is not the only option. Ronald Jenkins, director of Logan City Library, gave Hadfield possibilities for inter-local agreements.

In addition to a dedicated library tax at the same rate as Logan, River Heights could subsidize the cost of a Logan library card, or North Logan, Logan, Providence and River Heights could form a multi-city library district.

Currently, the Logan Library Board is evaluating the formula that determines the cost of nonresident cards. Hadfield said they are likely to come to a decision by June, when the new budget is due. The Logan library actually charges less than the rate set most recently in 2008, and charges the rate set in 2004 instead. If nonmember patrons paid the 2008 rate, they would be paying about $67 more.

To those from other towns seeking membership at the Logan library, $163 may seem like too much to pay. Hadfield said half of Logan residents do not use the library, and so they pay for those who do. That makes the value of library service for Logan patrons who use it about twice what they pay in differential taxes.

Even so, there are patrons from other towns still not willing to pay that much outright.

“It’s not worth it to me to pay $163,” Mayor Bill Baker said.

Hadfield said she and a representative from North Logan attended the library board’s Feb. 8 meeting to discus interlocal agreements. She said it did not seem as though they expected her to come, and did not have time set aside for public comment.

“They were a little shocked to see us there,” Hadfield said.

Hadfield and the council discussed the possibility of convincing the library board at their next meeting to form an interlocal agreement. Library cards would be offered to River Heights residents at a discounted price as low as $70.

Councilman Doug Clausen said he doubted if having several patrons buy cards at a lower rate would badly affect Logan’s library, and they would get money they would not have otherwise.

“It might be in their benefit to charge a lesser fee,” Clausen said. “Seventy bucks is better than nothing.”

Hadfield found in talking to people that they would like a better variety of items available than what the Providence library offers.

Baker asked what would happen if an agreement of some sort were reached with the Logan library. Currently, River Heights subsidizes the Cache County Library’s Providence-River Heights branch and Bookmobile with $5,000 a year, and 105 River Heights households have cards there. He wanted to know if they would drop out of the library.

Clausen said he doesn’t think River Heights would leave the Providence library if membership in Logan’s library were made cheaper. There are plenty of parents who take their children to that library for story time, he said.

In other business, the council discussed a grant to build sidewalks. River Heights must pay 25 percent of the cost. Baker recommended sidewalk construction start across the street from the school. Councilwoman Francine Davis said she wanted recommendations from members of the council on where to put the new sidewalks.


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