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Library district is not needed

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By Jeffco Board of Commissioners

The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners is extremely proud of the Jefferson County Public Library. We believe our libraries are among the County’s greatest assets. We are grateful to the citizens who serve as trustees, foundation members and Friends of the Library, as well as the many volunteers and the talented staff.
Recently we were presented with petitions that asked us to hold an election to form a library district to take over the county’s libraries. The petitioners intend that the county would hand over all of its library buildings and assets to the newly formed district, along with a tax increase (increased mill levy) to obtain additional property tax revenues for library purposes.
Creating a library district to perform the same or reduced services at a higher cost to taxpayers is fiscally irresponsible. Additionally, an election to form a district could cost up to $600,000. Further, if the library district were formed, the commissioners would still appoint the library trustees pursuant to Colorado law, just as we do currently.
As the general governing board of the county, the Board of Commissioners is ultimately responsible for the overall fiscal well-being, operations and service delivery of the entire county organization. We take the responsibility invested in us by the citizens of this county very seriously. During these challenging economic times, we have developed a multiyear budget strategy that maintains service levels in spite of tighter revenues. All county directors were asked to tighten their belts and reduce administrative costs without cutting services. We expected this of all county agencies, so when the library board of trustees decided to close libraries every Monday, we were adamantly opposed. We felt there were many ways to tighten the library’s budget without depriving citizens of library service on one of the busiest days of the week.
We urge the current library trustees to focus their attention on returning our libraries to their former level of service immediately, rather than creating another layer of government. We don’t need a tax increase or another governmental entity in Jefferson County. For these reasons, we decided against participating in the library district, and decided not to pay for an election to form a new library district. We’ve heard from many Jeffco citizens who don’t want a tax increase and don’t want to support another governmental entity.
Let’s focus our time, effort and resources on making our outstanding Jefferson County Public Library system even better.

The Jeffco Board of Commissioners consists of Faye Griffin, Donald Rosier and J. Kevin McCasky.