by LAURA KEIL
The McBride & District Public Library is $15,000 ahead in their fundraising after an anonymous donation.
“We are overwhelmed by their generosity and their support for this project,” says librarian Naomi Balla-Boudreau, who says they also received a $3000 grant recently from BC Hydro.
The library and museum are still waiting on approval from the Ministry to proceed with a public vote on whether or not to raise taxes to pay for a new library and museum space on Main St.
Property owners in the service area (approximately Dome Creek to Croydon) would pay an additional amount each year to cover the 25-year loan for the building purchase.
Currently, residential taxpayers pay about $27 per $100,000 of property value for the library service. Those who own commercial property pay $67 per $100,000. Industry pays $93.
If the new tax (known as the Robson Valley Exploration and Learning Service) is approved, residential taxpayers would likely pay double what they do now – $55 per $100,000 of property value. That’s because the old tax covered only operating expenses, and the new service covers only the cost of the building. Likewise, commercial property owners would now be on the hook for $134 per $100,000.
But would they really?
The library and museum hasten to note that fundraising efforts will offset what taxpayers need to pay for the $620,530 loan.
The library and museum currently have $66,500 in the bank to apply to the purchase of the building. That’s $22,000 more than is included in the proposed capital budget (the budget won’t change before the vote). In other words, voters will agree to pay more than they likely will have to.
The library and museum say they will continue to fundraise even after the purchase to help offset the cost to local taxpayers. Right now, they are leasing the proposed new building at 521 Main St. and renting tables to local vendors, with money raised going towards the building purchase.
The library and museum will be hosting a series of public meetings throughout the Valley at the end of March to answer questions. The vote will likely take place in late-April or early May.
Who would own it?
The Regional District would borrow the money from the Muncipal Finance Authority (MFA) and the building would belong to the Regional District. The Regional District which would enter into a long-term lease with the library, which would sub-let to the museum. The Regional District says the current borrowing rate from MFA is 2.6% interest and they don’t anticipate much of a change).