Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

October 26, 2010

Thank you, library board

Kokomo — The issue: Renovation of the Main Branch library.

Our view: Board invested in downtown Kokomo and improved services for patrons with cash on hand.

State officials got the attention of the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library Board in 2007.

In August of that year, Indiana’s Local Government Tax Control Board wasn’t altogether enthusiastic with the library’s plan to expand the South Branch on Center Road. In fact, the late Bill Sahm, then the board’s president, told members two folks on the tax control board “said they’re not inclined to vote for anything that’s likely to impact the tax rate.”

The library board had hoped to finance a little less than $2 million of a $6.4 million expansion with a bond issue. Yet, the tax control board sent the bond request to the state Department of Local Government Finance commissioner with no recommendation.

The library board stopped all work on the South Branch expansion. It was the best thing that could’ve happened. All who’ve visited the newly renovated Main Branch in downtown Kokomo would agree.

The ’70s-era brown exterior has been replaced with a three-color scheme. Etched-glass panels border the children’s area on the main floor. Two meeting rooms were added.

The best part: The $3.2 million renovation was completed without raising taxes or floating debt.

Congratulations to the library board for investing in downtown and improving its services with cash on hand. Bill Sahm must be smiling.

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