A Spokane Valley library building across the street from the new City Hall on Sprague Avenue may become a reality if the work of the joint city and library district committee comes to fruition.
At Tuesday evening’s Spokane Valley City Council meeting, city attorney Cary Driskell presented a proposal for an amended inter local agreement that would give the Spokane County Library District another five years to pass a bond, while committing the city of Spokane Valley to a $1.3 million investment in the library project.
Driskell explained that the city’s proposed financial commitment would include the $839,285 the library district paid the city for the land. The original deal closed five years ago and included a stipulation that the city would buy the land back if the library district couldn’t pass a bond to build a new facility.
The city has held on to that money but would need to allocate an additional $461,000, Driskell said.
In return, the library district would also invest $1.3 million in the project, Driskell said. That money includes the amounts it already paid the city for the Sprague property and for another piece of property for a second, smaller library.
“The district’s investment is to not ask for any of that money back,” Driskell said.
That includes not adding that sum to a potential new library bond that would have to pass to finance the new library.
Driskell said talks with the library district indicate that perhaps a 25,000 square foot building – not a 30,000 square foot building – is large enough.
The library district tried twice to pass a $22 million bond. The bond would have cost property owners 11 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value – about $22 for a $200,000 home – every year for 20 years, and required voters approval of a capital facilities district.
Both bonds had support from more than 50 percent of voters, but not enough to pass.
Driskell said the city has offered to help the library district work out a cheaper construction budget, resulting in a lower bond amount, using the experience the city has gained by building the new city hall.
“The bond request may be close to half of what it was, but we don’t know yet,” Driskell said.
The City Council would have to approve the amended inter local agreement.
When Driskell asked for consensus to put the agreement on the council agenda on July 25, Mayor Rod Higgins, Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard, and council members Ed Pace and Pam Haley all nodded in agreement, but Councilmen Mike Munch, Caleb Collier and Sam Wood didn’t support it.
Wood objected because he said the city’s investment was too much.
“It feels like we are putting up the whole $1.3 million,” Wood said.
Collier agreed and said, “I think this is more of a want than a need. That $1.3 million could be better spent somewhere else.”
The agreement will be on the council’s July 25 agenda for its first and only hearing.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.