Last year, I wrote a letter to the editor warning county residents they would no longer be able to borrow materials from the city library if the county did not renew its contract for services.
Disaster was averted temporarily as the county and city came to a compromise on 2011's funding and agreed to hire an independent consultant to settle their disputes. However, this year negotiations have fallen apart and no agreement has been reached for 2012.
Library consultant Ruth Metz provided a study and suggested a funding formula based on city and urban county populations supporting the city library at a per capita rate. The city requested $293,000 based on this formula.
The Rural Library District views this as a flawed formula because it does not own or control the city's collection or infrastructure and city residents do. It refuses to pay the city what it is requesting. It states on its website: "The RLD believes that the payment requested by the City of Walla Walla is both overpriced and no longer critical to providing equitable, easily accessible library services to the rural residents."
I am not sure the residents who live in the urban area outside the city of Walla Walla and use the city library would agree with the RLD's stance.
County residents will have the opportunity to let their opinions be known at a public meeting at the Fire District 4 station on Howard Street on Tuesday at 7 p.m.