Town of Troy: In April referendum, who foots the bill?As the snow begins to melt and we look forward to the April thaw, residents of the town of Troy and the surrounding areas will have more to look forward to than the promise of spring.
By: By Diane Nelson, Staff Correspondent, River Falls Journal
As the snow begins to melt and we look forward to the April thaw, residents of the town of Troy and the surrounding areas will have more to look forward to than the promise of spring.
Area residents will be asked to support funding for the joint library capital costs in an April referendum.
Area towns that are members of the Hudson Area Joint Library are being asked to approve the addition of a non-binding referendum to the April ballot seeking their support of the proposed purchase of an existing building in Hudson to house the new library.
The property under consideration is the NMC building located in downtown Hudson next to The Phipps Center for the Arts.
Presently, the town of Troy supports the Hudson Area Joint Library and the River Falls Public Library, and other county libraries through payment to the county for library use by rural residents. That payment is referred to as Act 150, a formula established by the state Legislature in 1998 to ensure that all libraries receive funding for library service provided to those living outside the city limits. The Act 150 formula only requires the county to reimburse at 70% of the cost of providing this service.
According to Nancy Miller, RFPL director, in a memo to the Town Board members: “St. Croix County made a stride forward last year by agreeing to fund at 71%. Last year, the state Assembly voted to remove library funding from the levy cap. This clears the way for a far more equitable and lasting solution to library funding as the county would be able to bill towns for the actual cost of providing library service without endangering or creating cutbacks to other county services. The most affirmative thing the Troy Town Board can do is make known to the County Finance Committee their support of 100% reimbursement for the cost of providing library service (and therefore their willingness to pay at this level) rather than the 71% currently being paid. This would support all libraries in our county rather than a select few.”
Though the proposed ballot question raises some concern that this brings into play people who may not even use the library, Town Chairperson Ray Knapp says he is in support of the ballot.
According to Knapp, the town pays $28.27 per resident for the library tax. The proposal could mean an increase to about $72 per household based on $300,000 price per average home.
While a larger building would likely increase operating costs the Hudson Joint Area Library could come back to the Town Board seeking annual operational support.
Miller asks the board to, “…remember that libraries have no borders. Selecting to support one library over another is potentially damaging to other libraries, in that this choice may mean reduced funding for other libraries that are used by Troy residents.”
Town Supervisor Gloria Wahrenbrock believes the referendum is “…important and creates an awareness of the issues.”
Susie Gilbert of the Hudson Library Foundation expressed her support of the proposed referendum for a new library and advised that preliminary budget numbers have been put together and they have made their presentation to the four municipalities which have agreed to put on the ballot for April 1 the non-binding referendum.
In other actions:
Salmon says the fence does not meet the guidelines required by the state. Currently, there is a four-wire fence installed and Salmon believes the state requires a five-wire fence to hold cattle. In addition, Salmon expressed concerns with the collection ponds installed by the developer stating the ponds do not drain properly resulting in flooding of his field and soil erosion. Salmon sought a resolution to the problem from the board.
Knapp said the matter would be placed on a future agenda for discussion.
The board will put Pierce’s request on the April agenda for consideration.