Has Town of Lisbon Checked Out of Library Talks?
Concerned about being "left out to dry" by Town of Lisbon officials, Sussex moves forward with creating a committee to explore the future of the Pauline Haass Public Library.
The Village Board on Monday announced it will form a committee to explore the future of the Pauline Haass Public Library as Town of Lisbon and village officials struggle to come to a long-term joint library agreement.
According to a statement from the village, the committee is charged with developing a plan to "ensure the quality of library service are maintained for businesses and residents in the community for years to come."
"We are very proactive in the village and we don't want to be hung out to dry at the the last minute," Village President Greg Goetz said Monday.
The need for a committee is due to the Town of Lisbon's "clear intent to stop paying for the library" and to prepare the village for a library that may not provide service to Lisbon residents in the future, according to the statement.
Town Chairman Matt Gehrke told Patch on Monday, however, that Lisbon is still "willing to talk, negotiate and to be somewhat flexible."
The two municipalities are attempting to iron out a new agreement for 2015 and beyond. At the beginning of September, the Lisbon rejected a proposal that would have Sussex pay $500,000 with the town paying $425,000 a year, according to the Sussex Sun.
The agreed proposed amount is about $40,000 more than the village currently pays and $40,000 less than the town currently pays, the newspaper said.
"Sussex residents use it substantially more than Lisbon residents do," Gehrke said.
The Sun indicated the town presented a counter-proposal that stipulates that at the beginning of 2015, the town would pay $250,000, instead of $425,000.
The $250,000 amount matches the "amount the of a tax levy town residents would pay if they were required to pay 24 cent per $100,000 countywide library tax," said the Sun, which noted the town does not currently pay the tax because of the current agreement.
Gehrke said the town is "firm" on that the framework of the proposal.
"I'm not going to negotiate with myself here. Up until today, I haven't heard that they are willing to sit down and talk," he added.
Goetz said he is willing to discuss the original proposal, but not the counter-proposal.
"We are always willing to negotiate any issue no matter what the circumstances are, but in this case we feel that Lisbon has made a clear indication that they are not going to support the library after the debt is paid off," Goetz said.
According to the Sun, the village spends about $100,000 to pay off debt on the library building. The debt will be paid off 2014.
"It seems like the discussions are over. That's what it seemed like to me, but I am always willing and open to suggestions," Goetz said.
The committee will be comprised of members of the Village Board and "key members" of the Library Board.