WALLA WALLA — A meeting to decide a possible real estate acquisition by the Walla Walla Rural Library District produced no decision Thursday.
Rural Library District board members met for an hour in executive session at their offices at 37 Jade Street, but took no action after returning to open session. With nothing to vote on, Sandra Bradley, board chairwoman, then adjourned the meeting.
There are no plans to schedule another meeting at this time. If one is scheduled it will be announced, Bradley said.
The board had attempted to meet Wednesday to discuss the real estate acquisition, but deferred action for 24 hours after protests by the Union-Bulletin and the Library Users Coalition. Both objected to the meeting on the grounds that the board had failed to give 24 hours notice to the news media, as required by state law.
After conferring with their attorney, board members agreed to postpone the meeting one day to allow notification to be sent to the Union-Bulletin.
The district has announced it is planning to purchase property for a new $3.6 million, 15,000-square-foot library to serve county residents in areas surrounding the cities of Walla Walla and College Place.
The move to build a new library is the result of a split between the rural library district and the Walla Walla Library, which are ending their nearly four-decade long relationship.
Both agencies reported in June they had been unable to reach an agreement on how to provide library services to both city and county residents and would be pursuing their own strategic plans independent of each other.
The city and the Rural Library District have worked together since 1974 to provide library services with the district paying the city to provide library cards to county residents.
However, in recent years, the Rural Library District reduced its payment to the city, noting that since 2000 the city had reduced funding, services and hours of operation to its own library and was relying more on district funds to backfill the city’s library budget.
Prior to the Rural Library District’s decrease in funding, it paid the city $365,000 to provide cards in 2008.
Negotiations over the next four years resulted in payments ranging from as low as $188,000 to the current $245,000 for 2012.
County residents currently pay a library tax of about 48 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The city funds the Walla Walla Library through its general fund.
Alfred Diaz contributed to this report.