Commonwealth Journal

Local News

October 23, 2012

Attorney: If petition is successful, library would shut down

(Continued)

Somerset —

“Nobody is saying the library doesn’t do a lot of wonderful services,” Sanders told the court on Tuesday. “They’re preaching doomsday, like the library’s going to close, it’s not going to be here anymore, and that’s not the case ... because the library will go on.”
But that’s exactly what Orwin, Keeney and Juckett said will happen should the petition be successful. 
Information provided to the board from the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) suggests that the board would cease to function in the aftermath of a petition to dissolve the district — except only to repay the library’s debt.
“It is our opinion that the library would close and all staff would be terminated (with the possible exception of an administrator to oversee the debt repayment), as continuing operation of the library cannot be considered as necessary for the repaying of existing debts,” stated Terry L. Manuel, branch manager in program development for the KDLA, in a letter to Pulaski County Library Director Charlotte Keeney dated Oct. 9. “ ... Further, the buildings and all furniture, books, and other material items would be subject to sale in order to satisfy existing debts.”
 The library’s debt, much of it extending from the construction of the current building, which began operations in 2008, stands at about $9,507,830, according to Keeney. 
An Attorney General opinion (OAG 79-102) states that a tax rate may not be decreased “to the point where it will impair repayment of these existing contractual obligations,” according to Manuel’s letter. 
In other words, a library tax would still exist until the debt is paid off.
State law also forbids the creation of a second special district while the first district is still in existence. So, essentially, a board under authority of fiscal court could not be created until the library’s debts are paid off, at which point the first board would be completely dissolved. 

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