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Troy residents to vote on their stake in Hudson library

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Earlier this year, area towns that are members of the Hudson Area Joint Library added a non-binding referendum to the April ballot seeking their support of the proposed purchase of an existing building in Hudson for a new library.

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The Troy Town Board entertained discussion of the proposed library referendum at its June 19 regular meeting. While there were differences of opinion among board members, they favored taking the binding question to town voters in November.

November's binding ballot question will ask Troy residents if they wish to contribute to capital funds toward a new Hudson library.

One important factor for town residents is that the referendum for Troy does not include the operating funds for a new library.

The other four municipalities contribute operating funds directly to the joint Hudson library.

Troy residents now pay a library tax to St. Croix County that is distributed back to libraries (primarily River Falls, and also Hudson) that serve Troy residents.

"What makes this difficult is the fact that if you live (closer to) River Falls, you would likely use the River Falls Library and if you live (closer to) Hudson, you would probably use the Hudson library," said Troy Town Chairman Ray Knapp.

Impact of referendum

As reported in April, based on budget estimates of $9,500,000 (assuming that half of the new library's startup costs would be funded by private sources), Troy residents would experience an annual assessment of $6 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.

For example, a $400,000 home would result in an annual assessment of $24.

What's next?

Recently the Troy Town Board agreed to let voters decide about supporting a new Hudson library. Other municipalities are getting together to figure out what the next step will be if voters agree that they want to move forward on this building project.

If voters decide to move forward, municipalities will focus on tackling issues of who would own the library, what the agreement look like and the length of commitment for each municipality.

"Troy is not as invested in the process because (it is) not involved in the long-term operating expenses," Knapp said. "Troy pays the county library fees and sends the money to the county. The county distributes it to the libraries."

In other recent action, the Town Board:

  • Gave approval to a design standards exception for a garage for Shawn and Kim Coffey, 510 Orchard Drive. Originally the plat required a 50-foot setback from the neighboring property line. A neighbor, however, presented a signed letter stating there was no objection to the garage being closer. Based on the neighbor's statement, the board approved the exception and the setback was reduced to 25 feet.
  • Is still considering a resident's safety request to reduce the speed limit on Red Brick Road to 35 mph.
  • Heard Building Inspector Brian Wert ask to reconsider his fee structure.
  • Received a local complaint for a fireworks permit issued annually by the town to resident Steve Caniff. Caniff sought the permit just as he has before. The letter writer alleges the fireworks are too disruptive and noisy and draw too many people. Eight residents of Trebus Valley Development, however, came in support of Caniff and his use of fireworks. Based on the number of supporters, the permit will be issued.
  • Discussed developing a procedure for addressing objects in the road right-of-way. This will help address the way the town approaches its residents on this issue. Knapp will work with road crews to identify properties in "noncompliance." A flier set for the September newsletter will contain examples of a culvert improperly landscaped vs. a properly landscaped culvert to show residents ways they can make the culvert pleasing to look at and yet safe.

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