Walla Walla Council to ponder library counteroffer

The Rural Library District has offered about $100,000 less than what city officials hoped for.

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WALLA WALLA - A counteroffer for city library funding will be discussed Monday at a special City Council meeting.

The proposal from the Walla Walla County Rural Library District would provide almost $100,000 less than what city officials had asked for.

Last month, city officials proposed the district pay $293,000 to the city for providing cards and services to county residents in 2012.

The proposal was based on a per-capita reimbursement of $28.70 for each of the 10,748 residents living in the unincorporated areas of Fire Districts 4 and 8.

Late last week, district officials offered a reimbursement based on a similar per-capita formula but with a $150,000 credit for money the district will spend to operate its new library at 1640 Plaza Way.

Rural Library District interim Executive Director Aletha Bonebrake explained that $8.85 should be subtracted from the rate because the district already provides those services to county residents, making the district's proposed per-capita reimbursement $18.45 per resident.

The district would pay just over $198,000 to the city in 2012.

Since 2009, district and city officials have disputed how much the Walla Walla Public Library should receive, with the figure dropping from the $360,000 in 2008 to $188,000 for this year.

Last year, when the contract was being worked out, Shawa and a number of Council members considered completely eliminating services to county residents, but opted to continue one more year to allow an independent consultant to develop an equitable reimbursement formula.

The consultant suggested a per-capita formula, which both entities used in their proposals.

If an agreement can't be reached, the result would most likely be that thousands of cardholders outside the city limits would have to pay for library cards.

Monday's meeting will start at 3:30 p.m. with a discussion of the city's annual audit, followed by discussions of the contract.

The meeting is open to the public and takes place at City Hall, 15 N. Third Ave.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

Budget at a glance

Plaza Library, 1640 Plaza Way

Total weekly hours: 32

Salaries and benefits: $56,516

Yearly rent: $28,880

Books and other materials: $16,000

Utilities, maintenance, supplies and other overhead: $29,500

Reserve: $19,104

Total: $150,000

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