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Manito Library Sale Has City, Board Holding Hands Out

A month after getting a $301,000 offer for the old Manito branch public library, library board members and city administrators are arm-wrestling over where that money should go.

City library board members say the whole amount should go to them.

“We deserve it all. We made improvements and managed the building since it opened,” said library board member Diann Brown.

City officials, who are in charge of budgets for all departments, including the library, say some money should go to the general fund.

City Finance Director Pete Fortin said the city’s position is the library building belonged to the library board, but the land itself was the city’s.

“We agree the library board gets most of the money. The thing comes down to a split; we haven’t decided how we arrive at a formula for how much the city should have,” Fortin said.

The library board wants to set aside the money for future improvements, such as upgrades to technology once its current bond measure expires in 1998.

The city would place any sale money it gets in its general fund for 1997 expenses like maintaining staff levels in the police or fire departments, said Fortin.

The building’s buyer is James Gimurtu, who owns the Birkebeiner Brewing Co. downtown. His bid was almost $1,400 more than one from Holy Family Hospital, which would have used the building as an adult care center.

The branch library at 404 E. 30th was built in the 1950s, then vacated this winter when the city opened a new South Hill Branch Library.

The library board appointed Brown and board member Ned Barnes to represents its position on a committee that will meet with City Council members to settle the question.

, DataTimes

Tags: government